President Trump has been clear since day one that he’s turning over the nation’s public lands and environment to King Coal and other polluters. In his first months in office, he’s made it easier for coal mines to dump tons of rock into rivers and streams, ended a study meant to fix our broken coal leasing system, proposed slashing the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget and moved to eliminate U.S. limits on carbon pollution.
Now his anti-environment administration is at it again, with a plan to approve a coal lease expansion and exploratory drilling within roadless national forest in western Colorado.
The U.S. Forest Service is conducting an environmental impact statement on the expansion of Arch Coal’s West Elk mine into the Sunset Roadless Area, and is asking for your input. This is one of the first opportunities to push back against the devastating on-the-ground impacts that Trump’s dirty energy agenda will have on our pristine public lands.
The coal lease would give Arch Coal the right to mine within 1,700 acres of the Sunset Roadless Area, a rolling landscape of aspen and spruce-fir forests and beaver ponds on national forest land directly adjacent to the scenic West Elk Wilderness, 40 miles from Aspen, Colorado. This roadless area provides winter habitat for big-game herds, denning areas for the rare Canada lynx and watersheds that support populations of imperiled Colorado River cutthroat trout.
This proposed plan is a triple threat that would scrape wild forest, spew hundreds of millions of cubic feet of methane into the air each year and worsen climate change. Arch Coal plans to bulldoze over 6 miles of road and scrape up to 48 drilling pads to build methane vents and give the company access to over 17 million tons of coal. A remote, wild landscape will be destroyed for the benefit of a single corporation.
And worse, the Forest Service is refusing to require Arch Coal to control methane pollution—a greenhouse gas on steroids—caused by the mine expansion. This has made the West Elk mine the largest single source of industrial methane pollution in the state of Colorado over the last few years.
If we are to have a chance to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, it’s time to stop the federal government from putting cheap coal on the market and spewing massive amounts of methane.
Say no to Trump’s dirty energy agenda. Your actions in the past have helped stall Arch Coal’s plans to expand; this is the next step in our fight. Tell the Forest Service to stop the West Elk mine lease expansion!
June 19, 2017 Action Alert ID# 512
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