BLM approves coal mine expansion
DENVER — The Bureau of Land Management has posted its decision allowing Arch Coal Inc.‘s West Elk coal mine in Somerset to expand operations.
The BLM posted its record of decision online Thursday. It expands federal coal leasing on 1,721 acres underlying national forest land adjacent to existing federal coal leases operated by the mine.
The mine employs 378 people and provides about $2 million in annual tax revenue to Gunnison County.
The BLM says its decision will allow up to 19 million more tons of coal to be recovered and extend operations at the mine for up to three years.
Conservation groups had expressed concerns that expanding the mine would bring industrial activity to roadless areas.