skip to main content
skip to newscasts

Monday, December 4, 2023

Public News Service Logo
facebook instagram linkedin reddit youtube twitter
view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

NH gun-safety advocates advise services, bipartisan laws after deadly shootings; Food banks, pantries address rising food insecurity during winter holidays; Despite cost debate, some MN businesses intrigued by paid-leave law.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Muslim American leaders in swing states like Michigan threaten to Abandon Biden, VP Harris criticizes greenwashing at COP28, former congresswoman Cheney calls the GOP a "threat," and George Santos is expelled.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Congress has iced the Farm Bill, but farmer advocates argue some portions are urgent, the Hoosier State is reaping big rewards from wind and solar, and opponents react to a road through Alaska's Brooks Range, long a dream destination for hunters and anglers.

Deadline for State to Act on Coal Mine Air Pollution Permit Back in Court

play audio
Play

Tuesday, January 17, 2023   

Environmental groups are headed back to court this Friday in hopes of setting a clear deadline for Gov. Jared Polis' administration to start reining in climate pollution at the West Elk Coal Mine in the North Fork Valley.

Nathaniel Shoaff, senior attorney for the Sierra Club, said the mine has been operating without a permit in violation of the Clean Air Act for years, and is a major contributor to climate change due to its methane emissions.

"Its heat-trapping properties are far more powerful than carbon dioxide, and scientists around the globe have told us that we are in the critical decade," Shoaff pointed out. "If we want to avoid the worst effects of climate disruption, we must act, and we must act now."

A Colorado district court ruled in December the Polis administration violated state law by failing to approve or deny an air pollution permit for the mine, owned by Arch Resources, formerly Arch Coal, by a statutory deadline of September 2021. The state did not dispute the ruling, but told the court due to staffing issues and lack of cooperation by Arch, a draft permit would not be possible before June 1 of this year.

The court is also expected to review records it ordered released related to the state's claims of Arch's "uncooperativeness," and how the state has responded. Shoaff noted Colorado's statute does not indicate the state must act only if it gets paperwork from the mine, the statute said the state must approve or deny a permit within 18 months of receiving the application.

"A facility like the West Elk Mine that has been operating for years without the required permits, and it's the largest industrial source of methane in the state, that should get a high priority from the state," Shoaff contended.

Colorado has set a goal of removing coal from its energy portfolio by 2030. Because federal and state governments have provided subsidies to extract and burn fossil fuels for decades, making communities dependent on those industries, Shoaff argued it is not enough to tell people living in the North Fork Valley there is a job for you in another state. It is incumbent on the government to provide solutions.

"And provide financial incentives for new companies to operate in these areas," Shoaff stressed. "If you don't, you're doing a disservice to those families and those communities that worked for a long time to help keep the lights on."

Disclosure: The Sierra Club contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Energy Policy, Environment, and Environmental Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
more stories
According to data by SCORE, 75% of small business owners donate an average of 6% of their profits to charitable organizations each year. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

Small Business Saturday has come and gone and the North Carolina Sustainable Business Council urged people to keep "shopping local" this season…


Social Issues

play sound

Gun-safety advocates in New Hampshire are urging Gov. Chris Sununu to back policies proven to reduce gun violence following a series of deadly …

Social Issues

play sound

A new report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found the repayment process for federal student loans has been filled with errors…


Minnesota's new paid leave law, scheduled to take effect in 2026, will distribute benefits through a state-operated insurance pool funded by employers and employees. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

Minnesota is two years away from enacting its new paid leave law and while the debate over costs has resurfaced, some in the small business community …

Social Issues

play sound

A lawsuit challenging Wisconsin's collective near-total bargaining ban for most public workers is by some seen as a way to bolster the state's beleagu…

The Environmental Protection Agency is working on rules that will incentivize the transition to heavy-duty electric vehicles. (VanderWolf Images/Adobestock)

play sound

As the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Dubai wraps up, Democratic lawmakers and clean-air advocates are calling on the Environmental …

play sound

The American Gas Association misled the public on the health effects of burning gas for decades. Now, a coalition wants the Washington State …

Social Issues

play sound

Workers at the Tacoma Art Museum are celebrating a unique union victory that could be a model for other museums. The 26 members of Tacoma Art …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021