KANAB – The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Kanab Field Office (KFO) announced today the release of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the Alton Coal Tract Lease By Application (LBA). The application is 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: http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/prog/energy/coal/alton_coal_project.html.
Five public meetings will be held to provide the public with opportunities to learn about the Draft EIS and to share any information, concerns, or comments they may have. The meetings will be in an open house format and representatives from the BLM’s KFO will be available to answer questions. The meetings are scheduled from 6pm to 8pm MT on the following dates at these locations:
Alton – Nov. 29, 2011
Alton Town Hall, 11 S 100 W
Kanab – Nov. 30, 2011
Kanab City Library, 374 North Main St.
Panguitch – Dec. 1, 2011
Panguitch City Hall/Library, 25 South 200 East
Cedar City – Dec. 6, 2011
[Includes a hearing on the Draft EIS, Maximum Economic Recovery (MER), and Fair Market Value (FMV)]
Festival Hall Convention Center, 96 North Main
Cedar City, UT
Salt Lake City – Dec. 7, 2011
Salt Lake City Library, 210 E 400 S
Salt Lake City, UT
The public comment period begins on November 4, 2011 and ends on January 6, 2012. Written comments may be submitted at the public meetings, by letter to the address below, or by e-mail 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 6, 2012.
Attention: Keith Rigtrup
Bureau of Land Management
Kanab Field Office
319 North 100 East
Kanab, UT 84741
Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should 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.
Please contact BLM Planner Keith Rigtrup at 435-865-3063 to request additional information regarding the meetings.