Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - July 9, 2020 


VP Pence backs Trump on getting kids back to school as U.S. coronavirus top 3 million: state lawmakers call for a "just" economic recovery.

2020Talks - July 9, 2020 


The Green Party nominating convention begins today. The Supreme Court is making its final rulings this week; today, they rule on whether Trump's tax returns will be released.

Forest Service Pushes for Coal Mining on Protected Lands in CO

Less than a month remains for the public to chime in on a proposal to expand coal mining on 20,000 acres of protected National Forest lands in Colorado. (USFS)
Less than a month remains for the public to chime in on a proposal to expand coal mining on 20,000 acres of protected National Forest lands in Colorado. (USFS)
December 24, 2015

DENVER - Time is running out for Coloradans to weigh in on the U.S. Forest Service's plans to open up publicly owned forest land to coal mining in the state. The proposal would allow development on nearly 20,000 acres of protected, roadless wildlife habitat in the state's North Fork Valley.

Ted Zukoski, an attorney with Earthjustice, says mining for coal also will release large amounts of methane, which is more than 80 times more powerful than CO2 as a heat-trapping gas.

"This is a double whammy for the climate," says Zukoski. "When you're mining a bunch of coal which then gets burned and adds to climate change, but then you're also just wasting millions of cubic feet a day of methane into the atmosphere, which is another hit on climate change."

Arch Coal, whose West Elk Mine stands to benefit from the move, told High Country News the Forest Service's proposal would help keep good-paying jobs in the region. But Zukoski points to Forest Service projections showing dumping more coal on the market would undercut clean-energy jobs.

In June, a federal judge blocked the Forest Service plan and sent the agency back to calculate the risks to climate change. Zukoski says the Service's own analysis found mining could cost the global economy through loss of agriculture, impacts on public health, property and other damages as much as $12 billion.

Zukoski adds, the Forest Service is trying to reopen a loophole in a Colorado rule that allows practices banned on National Forest land in every other state.

"This kind of bulldozing road construction through roadless forest, which is some of the most important forest for clean water and wildlife habitat is prohibited," he says. "Federal law prohibits that."

The Forest Service is accepting public comments on its proposal through Jan. 15.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO