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Stop coal mining assault on this roadless forest

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President Trump has been clear since day one that he’s turning over the nation’s public lands and environment to King Coal and other polluters. In his first months in office, he’s made it easier for coal mines to dump tons of rock into rivers and streams, ended a study meant to fix our broken coal leasing system, proposed slashing the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget and moved to eliminate U.S. limits on carbon pollution.

Now his anti-environment administration is at it again, with a plan to approve a coal lease expansion and exploratory drilling within roadless national forest in western Colorado.

The U.S. Forest Service is conducting an environmental impact statement on the expansion of Arch Coal’s West Elk mine into the Sunset Roadless Area, and is asking for your input. This is one of the first opportunities to push back against the devastating on-the-ground impacts that Trump’s dirty energy agenda will have on our pristine public lands.

The coal lease would give Arch Coal the right to mine within 1,700 acres of the Sunset Roadless Area, a rolling landscape of aspen and spruce-fir forests and beaver ponds on national forest land directly adjacent to the scenic West Elk Wilderness, 40 miles from Aspen, Colorado. This roadless area provides winter habitat for big-game herds, denning areas for the rare Canada lynx and watersheds that support populations of imperiled Colorado River cutthroat trout.

This proposed plan is a triple threat that would scrape wild forest, spew hundreds of millions of cubic feet of methane into the air each year and worsen climate change. Arch Coal plans to bulldoze over 6 miles of road and scrape up to 48 drilling pads to build methane vents and give the company access to over 17 million tons of coal. A remote, wild landscape will be destroyed for the benefit of a single corporation.

And worse, the Forest Service is refusing to require Arch Coal to control methane pollution—a greenhouse gas on steroids—caused by the mine expansion. This has made the West Elk mine the largest single source of industrial methane pollution in the state of Colorado over the last few years.

If we are to have a chance to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, it’s time to stop the federal government from putting cheap coal on the market and spewing massive amounts of methane.

Say no to Trump’s dirty energy agenda. Your actions in the past have helped stall Arch Coal’s plans to expand; this is the next step in our fight. Tell the Forest Service to stop the West Elk mine lease expansion!

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The New Fight To Defend The Sunset Roadless Area—And Our Climate


RE: Federal Coal Lease Modifications COC-1362 & COC-67232 #32459

Dear Forest Service:

I write to urge the U.S. Forest Service to reject Arch Coal's plan to bulldoze roads, drill exploratory wells and lease coal within the beautiful Sunset Roadless Area.

The Sunset Roadless Area is home to beaver and black bear, elk and goshawk, and provides habitat for the imperiled lynx. Arch Coal's proposal to scrape more than 6 miles of road and nearly 50 drilling pads will degrade this vibrant forest. Valued recreation and hunting areas will be scarred for years to benefit a single corporation.

The lease will also allow Arch to mine over 17 million tons of coal, pouring gasoline on the fire of climate change. Worse, your agency is refusing require Arch to control methane pollution caused by the mine expansion. Over the last few years the West Elk mine has become the largest single source of industrial methane pollution in the state.

Scientific studies show that if we want to avoid the worst potential damage from climate change, we must keep much of the world's known fossil fuel reserves in the ground. The Forest Service should draw the line here.

Please keep the Sunset Roadless Area as it is. Reject Arch Coal's drilling, bulldozing and lease proposal.

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