In 2011, Alton Coal proposed to expand its strip coal operations onto public lands, ten miles from Bryce Canyon National Park. The company wants to expand to an additional 3,600 acres of federal land, plus nearly 250 acres of private property, to tap 400 million tons of coal over the next decade.. The BLM has acknowledged that the project will have significant environmental impacts, with trucks from the mine kicking up dust, muddying seeps and wet meadows and destroying sage grass that feeds a large deer herd. Mining operations will require up to 300 coal truck trips per day travelling through the nearby historic town of Panguitch. Also at issue is the impact that the proposal would have on sage grouse. Critics and federal officials say the proposal would have a negative impact on sage grouse, despite a deal in which states are taking measures to protect the bird in exchange for keeping the species off the Endangered Species Act.
Federal and state officials are at odds over the proposal and the BLM has yet to make a final decision on the expansion. Groups like the Sierra Club and SUWA are encouraging them to deny the expansion, or else face legal action for failing to adequately account for potentially harmful impacts on the area’s water, air, wildlife and cultural resources.
Robert Redford speaks out about the Alton/Coal Hollow Mine.
Watch a short film (2012) on the development of the Alton Hollow Coal Strip Mine:
|Images ( View Full Gallery )|