BLM approves lease addition for Bridger Coal

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s Rock Springs, Wyo., Field Office has released the environmental assessment (EA), finding of no significant impact, and decision record (DR) authorizing Bridger Coal to expand a coal lease by 320 acres for underground mining. 

The additional 320 acres of BLM-administered land is in the checkerboard region of mixed public, private and state owned land, BLM noted in a March 7 statement. The modified lease is adjacent to the current Bridger permit boundary. The permit covers approximately 26,691 acres of land the company leases east of Sweetwater County Road 15, roughly 35 miles northeast of Rock Springs, Wyo. In addition to the federal lease modification request, the company is proposing to conduct underground coal mining on connecting private land. 

Bridger Coal operates the Jim Bridger Coal Mine complex which includes surface, underground, and highwall mining methods, along with ongoing reclamation, and has been in production since 1974. This coal goes to the adjacent Jim Bridger power plant, with both the mines and plant co-owned by PacifiCorp (two-thirds ownership) and Idaho Power (one-third).

Initial public scoping on the modified coal lease was conducted in April-May 2012. The EA was made available for public comment in January 2013; two comments were received, neither comment required modification of the document. The DR is subject to administrative review through the appeal process, which is outlined in the record, BLM noted.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.