Forest Service considers coal lease modifications

By Press Release


The Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests (GMUG) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced their intent to prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to consider two coal lease modifications on lands adjacent to the West Elk Mine near Somerset.

In 2014 the West Elk lease modifications issued in 2012 were vacated by a federal judge. To remedy the deficiencies identified by the court, a supplemental Draft EIS and Final EIS will be prepared. The Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare a Supplemental EIS in the Federal Register provides official notice of the Forest Service's decision to resume analysis.

The NOI was to be published in the Federal Register on Feb. 23. Since the lease modifications are being re-evaluated in accordance with the judicial decision, they are exempt from Secretarial Order 3338 - Discretionary Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement to Modernize the Federal Coal Program.

Comments received during previous comment periods will remain as part of the public record and have been used to identify issues and develop alternatives. Comments will continue to be accepted while the Supplemental EIS is being prepared. The Supplemental Draft EIS is estimated to be released this spring with an additional formal comment period following its release.

Submitted comments should be specific to the geographic area above and should address specific concerns. Written comments can be submitted:

· By mail: Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests, Attn: Forest Supervisor, 2250 Hwy. 50, Delta, CO 81416;

· By email: https://cara.ecosystemmanagement.org/Public//CommentInput?Project=32459; or

· By fax: 970-874-6698.

Additional information is available at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=32459 or by contacting District Ranger Levi Broyles at 527-4131 or lbroyles@fs.fed.us.