The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is issuing for comment an environmental assessment (EA) on a coal lease application by Buckingham Coal for coal reserve tracts in Ohio.
A public hearing will be held to receive comments on the EA and associated Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), Fair Market Value (FMV), and Maximum Economic Recovery (MER) of the coal resources, said BLM in a notice to be published in the May 11 Federal Register. The public hearing will be held on June 4 in Glouster, Ohio. Written comments must be received within 30 days following the date of the public hearing.
Buckingham Coal filed a lease application with the BLM in December 2011 covering federal coal in Perry and Morgan counties, Ohio. The U.S. Forest Service (FS) completed an EA and FONSI in March 2014 and issued its consent to lease. The BLM anticipates issuing a Decision Record after the public meeting announced by this notice and after having considered any comments received on the EA, FMV, and MER.
The lands included in the Buckingham Coal application include several parcels with a total of 432 acres. The company plans to mine the federal coal as an extension from its existing underground mine, if the lease is obtained. The proposed mine would recover coal from the Middle Kittanning seam at the base of the Pennsylvanian aged Lower Freeport Sandstone.
The EA addresses the cultural, socioeconomic, environmental and cumulative impacts that would likely result from leasing these coal lands. Two alternatives are addressed in the EA: Alternative 1 (Proposed Action) The tract would be leased, as applied for. Alternative 2 (No Action) The application would be rejected or denied. The federal coal would therefore be bypassed.
Westmoreland Coal (NasdaqGM: WLB) on Jan. 1 of this year completed an acquisition of Buckingham Coal.