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Alton Coal Mine Expansion Still Facing Opposition


  Environmentalists are reminding the Bureau of Land Management that public opposition to expanding a coal strip mine in Kane County hasn’t gone away.

The Sierra Club and other groups went to the BLM office in Salt Lake City to deliver more than 45-thousand public comments opposing the expansion of the coal mine.  The mine currently operates on private land near the town of Alton.  The agency is about to issue a supplemental environmental impact statement on the plan that could allow it to expand onto public land in the same area.

The BLM got more than 170-thousand public comments on the draft environmental impact statement last year.  Tim Wagner with the Sierra Club says the petition it’s delivering to the agency this week is just a reminder that people are still watching to see what happens.

But Wagner says a depressed market for coal might make as much difference to the future of the mine as environmental concerns.

“What’s really changed," Wagner tells KUER, " is that the coal markets have just dropped off precipitously around the country to the point that stocks are dropping from some of the major coal companies.”

Last month, a BLM auction of coal mining parcels in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming drew no bids at all.

The BLM says the supplemental E-I-S for the Alton coal project will probably come out around the first of November.

KUER story from December, 2011 on the proposed Alton Coal mine expansion

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