- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 8, 2015

CRAIG, Colo. (AP) - The U.S. Department of Interior won’t fight a court ruling threatening the future of a northwestern Colorado coal mine.

The department will not appeal a May ruling from a federal judge ordering a do-over of an environmental review of the Colowyo mine, spokeswoman Jessica Kershaw told the Craig Daily Press (https://bit.ly/1HfNUYL).

“We are not appealing the court’s decision but are on track to address the deficiencies in the Colowyo permit within the 120-day period,” Kershaw said in a story posted late Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge R. Brooke Jackson ruled the review should take into account the eventual climate change impacts of the coal to be mined and include input from the public. He said he would shut down the mine unless the review was completed in four months.

Gov. John Hickenlooper, U.S. Sens. Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet, and U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton had urged the Interior Department to appeal both to secure the future of the mine, which employs 220 people, and to prevent other mining projects from being challenged.

New Mexico-based WildEarth Guardians, which challenged the Colowyo permit, has similar lawsuits challenging permits for the San Juan coal mine in New Mexico and the Spring Creek mine near the Montana-Wyoming border in the coal-rich Powder River Basin.

Westminster, Colorado-based Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, which owns the Colowyo Mine, has appealed Jackson’s ruling.

“We are disappointed that the government did not appeal the federal district court’s decision. Colowyo Mine remains confident that the U.S. Department of Interior and Office of Surface Mining are making every effort to complete the required environmental review within the 120-day period ordered by the court,” spokesman Lee Boughey said in an email.


Information from: Craig Daily Press, https://www.craigdailypress.com

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