Bowie coal mine tentatively approved for big expansion
The Bureau of Land Management gave a tentative nod to the proposed expansion of the Bowie No. 2 mine in the North Fork Valley.
In a decision released Monday, the bureau found the expansion of the mine by about 500 acres to enable miners to dig out about 3.2 million tons of coal would have no significant environmental impact.
The tentative decision is now subject to public comment for 30 days.
The mine has operated since 1997 and produced about 2.5 million tons of coal in 2011.
Bowie, Delta County’s largest taxpayer, is “whittling away” its 2010 tax bill and making regular payments, Delta County Treasurer Jim Ventrello said.
Bowie has an $860,000 2011 tax bill on which the company has made no payments yet, he said.
Bowie No. 2 mine employs 297 people, most of whom live in communities in Delta County.
The North Fork coal mines collectively provide $60 million in direct economic benefits to the region, the BLM said.