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Interior Department Agrees to Address Climate Impacts of Coal Mining

July 8, 2015
Jeremy Nichols (303) 437-7663
In This Release
Climate + Energy  
Denver – WildEarth Guardians is applauding the U.S. Department of the Interior’s decision to embrace a federal court ruling requiring the agency to address the climate impacts of coal mining.

“The Interior Department is stepping up to lead on climate,” said Jeremy Nichols, WildEarth Guardians’ Climate and Energy Program Director. “This is a milestone and we sincerely praise the agency for its willingness to finally lead the charge to confront the climate impacts of coal mining.”

On May 8, a federal court agreed with WildEarth Guardians and held that Interior illegally ignored the environmental consequences of approving more mining at the Colowyo coal mine in northwestern Colorado. The court held the agency inappropriately turned its back on the impacts of coal burning and set a120-day deadline for the Department to correct its mistakes and make a new decision.

Tri-State Generation and Transmission owns the Colowyo mine, which fuels the company’s Craig power plant, the second largest coal-fired power plant in Colorado. Every year the power plant spews millions of tons of carbon and other toxic air pollution into the air.

“More mining means more coal burning,” said Nichols. “Thankfully the Interior Department is starting to accept and take responsibility for this reality.”

Under federal court rules, the Interior Department had 60 days to appeal and overturn the court ruling. That deadline passed yesterday and Interior filed no appeal.

This means the federal court ruling in May will stand and that the Interior Department will follow through to address the climate impacts of coal mining.