RBC I Colorado U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner and U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton have urged Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to complete the Trapper Mine Environmental Assessment before the Saturday deadline.
In a letter to Secretary Jewell, Bennet wrote, “Coal mining, electricity generation and associated industries comprise many of the region’s largest employers, making substantial contributions to the local economy. The Trapper Mine alone employs 180 people. The mine also provides fuel for the nearby Craig Power Generating Station, which produces a significant amount of baseload electricity.”
Trapper Mine’s permit was covered under the same environmental review that the U.S. District Court in Colorado deemed deficient for Coloywo Mine, but Trapper Mine was initially believed to be unaffected.
Further review led to a negotiation with the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) that requires a new Environmental Assessment in order to keep Trapper Mine operational.
Tipton and Gardner also sent a letter Friday to Jewell, urging her to finalize the Trapper Mine Environmental Assessment before the April 30 deadline.
That letter stated, “We write today to urge a timely review and approval of the Proposed Action and Mine Plan at the Trapper Mine in Craig, Colo. We are encouraged by the progress being made on the Environmental Assessment (EA) and reiterate the importance of ensuring the process meets the prescribed timeline.
“Coal fills a vital role in Colorado’s electric generation portfolio, currently accounting for 60 percent of the state’s total generation. The Trapper Mine specifically provides about 50 percent of the total fuel for the Craig Power Generating Station, which is a critical regional electric generation unit. Both the mine and the power station are crucial to Northwest Colorado’s economic viability, as they are two of the region’s largest employers and contributors of revenues to state and local coffers. Further, the Trapper Mine has an outstanding track record for reclamation and preventing offsite impacts.
“The recommended course of action from the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) is a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI). We believe a thoughtful and detailed analysis of the Trapper Mine and its impacts has occurred through this EA process, and urge you to finalize the EA on or before the deadline of April 30, 2016.”