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USFS agrees to coal lease expansion

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On Dec. 11, Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forest Supervisor Scott Armentrout signed the Record of Decision (ROD) for Federal Coal Lease Modifications COC-1362 and COC-67232. The ROD outlines Armentrout's decision to consent to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) modifying two federal coal leases with terms and conditions to protect forest resources. Ark Land, LLC and Mountain Coal Company, LLC requested the modifications to expand their existing coal leases by a total 1,720 acres located near Somerset.

Coal mining is a multi-staged process involving multiple federal and state agencies. The next step in the process is for the BLM to decide whether or not to modify the leases based on Armentrout's decision. BLM is also considering whether or not to permit on-lease exploration once the leases are issued as described in the SFEIS which would result in surface-disturbing activities.

Armentrout's decision to modify the leases does not authorize mining or surface disturbing activities. These activities, including actual modification of the leases, mining operations, and on-lease exploration, are handled in separate and sequential approval and permitting processes by appropriate state and federal agencies.

Armentrout's decision and the Supplemental Final Environmental Impact Statement can be found online at the project website: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=32459.

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