Bureau of Land Management Extends Comment Period on Alton Coal Draft EIS


The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Kanab Field Office (KFO) announced today that the deadline for comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Alton Coal Tract Lease By Application (LBA) has been extended from January 6 to January 27. Due to holidays during the comment period timeframe, the BLM is providing this extension to allow ample time for full participation in the public comment process.

The application proposes to lease Federal coal on 3,581 acres (more or less) of public and private land near Alton, Utah. The Draft EIS analyzes and discloses to the public the direct, indirect, and cumulative socio-economic (including employment) and environmental impacts of issuing a Federal coal lease tract to maintain operations at the Alton Coal mine or another mine, should another company receive the lease through the competitive bidding process.

The Draft EIS includes mining of the proposed tract and transportation of coal by truck to coal markets, including by way of a railhead near Cedar City, Utah. The Draft EIS analyzes leasing the Alton Coal Tract as the Proposed Action (Alternative B).

Under the Proposed Action, a competitive sale would be held and a lease issued for Federal coal in the tract. As part of the coal leasing process, the BLM is evaluating an additional alternative (Alternative C) that would remove 394 acres and 6.8 million tons of Federal coal in the tract to minimize impacts in close proximity to the Town of Alton and to preserve seasonal Greater sage-grouse habitat. Under this alternative, a competitive sale would be held and a lease issued for Federal coal lands included in a tract modified by the BLM.

The Draft EIS also analyzes the alternative of rejecting the application to lease Federal coal as the No Action Alternative (Alternative A). The Proposed Action and alternatives being considered in the Draft EIS are in conformance with the Kanab Field Office Record of Decision and Approved Resource Management Plan (2008).

The Office of Surface Mining (OSM) and the State of Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining (UDOGM) are cooperating agencies in the preparation of the Draft EIS. If the Alton Coal Tract is leased, OSM is the Federal Agency that would be responsible for recommending approval, approval with conditions, or disapproval of the Mining Plan to the Secretary of the Interior. UDOGM is delegated the environmental and reclamation responsibilities under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977. A separate UDOGM permit would be required if the leasing process is completed.

Copies of the Draft EIS are available at the following BLM office locations: Utah State Office Public Room, 440 West 200 South, Suite 500, Salt Lake City, Utah 84145; Kanab Field Office, 318 North 100 East, Kanab, Utah 84741.

The Draft EIS is also available electronically on the following Web site: https://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/prog/energy/coal/alton_coal_project.html.

The public comment period began on November 4, 2011 and will now end on January 27, 2012. Written comments may be submitted by letter to the address below, or by email to: UT_Kanab_Altoncoal@blm.gov. Please include “Alton Coal Lease Environmental Impact Statement” in your correspondence. To ensure they will be considered, the BLM must receive written comments on the Draft EIS, MER, and FMV on or before the close of business, January 27, 2012.

Attention:В  Keith Rigtrup
Bureau of Land Management
Kanab Field Office
319 North 100 East
Kanab, UT 84741

Before including an address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, be aware that your entire comment, including your personal identifying information, may be made publicly available at any time. While you may ask us in your comment to have your personal identifying information withheld from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

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