WildEarth Guardians appeals BLM plans for two coal leases

WildEarth Guardians said June 25 that it has filed appeals of decisions by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to lease new coal reserves for the McClane Canyon deep mine in Colorado of Rhino Resources Partners LP (NYSE: RNO) and the El Segundo strip mine in New Mexico of Peabody Energy (NYSE: BTU).

The appeals challenge the failure of the BLM and its parent, the Interior Department, to account for the climate implications of its coal program. Environmental groups have been trying for years, so far without success, through courts and agency avenues to try and get the CO2 emissions from when coal is burned considered in the BLM leasing process.

“We applaud the President’s initiative to curtail carbon from coal-fired power plants, but the reality is his Interior Department is fanning the flames of global warming by approving millions of tons of new coal mining,” said Jeremy Nichols, WildEarth Guardians’ Climate and Energy Program Director. “More coal mining only means more carbon, and while we may put a cap on greenhouse gases at power plants, if we can’t rein in coal supply, we’re simply treading water.”

  • The New Mexico lease would expand Peabody Energy’s El Segundo coal strip mine in northwestern New Mexico by 11 million tons. BLM approved a preliminary leasing document in late May.
  • In western Colorado, the BLM approved a leasing document covering about 2 million tons of reserves of the currently-idled McClane Canyon coal mine near Grand Junction.

WildEarth Guardians filed appeals of both decisions with the Interior Board of Land Appeals. Decisions on the appeals will likely be issued by the board in early 2014, WildEarth Guardians said.

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.