DENVER— National and local conservation groups today condemned a decision by the U.S. Forest Service to continue pressing to open national forest roadless areas in Colorado to coal mining.
Photo of bulldozer near Sunset Roadless Area courtesy U.S. Forest Service. Photos are available for media use.
In a notice filed today, the Forest Service announced it would move forward by issuing a draft environmental impact statement on the proposal to pave the way for mining. The proposal would reopen a loophole in the “roadless rule” for national forests in Colorado to enable Arch Coal — the nation’s second largest coal company — to scrape roads and well pads on nearly 20,000 acres of otherwise-protected, publicly owned national forest and wildlife habitat in Colorado’s North Fork Valley.
The loophole was thrown out by the U.S. District Court of Colorado last year because the Forest Service had failed to consider the climate change impacts of mining as much as 350 million tons of coal in the national forest. (Today’s notice reduces the estimated coal available to 173 million tons.) The Forest Service admits that reopening the loophole could result in hundreds of millions of tons of additional carbon pollution from mining and burning the coal. That carbon pollution could cost the global economy and environment billions of dollars, according to today’s notice. From: www.biologicaldiversity.org
GR: Apparently, the U. S. Forest Service isn’t satisfied with just clear-cutting the forests; it wants to widen its attack with more roads and more global warming CO2 emissions. Way-to-go Forest Service!