About the Project
The U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE), Western Region Office, is adopting the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) environmental assessment (EA) for the Foidel Creek Mine titled: United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Environmental Assessment for the Peabody Twentymile Coal, LLC, COC54608 Lease Modification. OSMRE was a cooperating agency for this EA.
OSMRE is responsible for reviewing plans to conduct coal mining and reclamation operations on lands containing leased Federal coal. Pursuant to 30 CFR 746, OSMRE must prepare and submit to the Secretary of the Interior a decision document recommending approval, disapproval or approving with condition(s) of the proposed mining plan modification to federal coal lease COC54608 (the Project). In accordance with the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, the Secretary must approve the Project before any mining and reclamation can occur on lands containing leased federal coal.
The Lease by Application application was filed with the BLM by Twentymile Coal, LLC (TC) on May 15, 2014. BLM subsequently issued a FONSI for the lease on December 31, 2015 and the lease was effective on April 1, 2016. On June 15, 2016, the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining, and Safety approved the application for permit revision 10 to their permit C-1982-056. On May 25, 2016, Wild Earth Guardians appealed the BLM Decision Record. On August 25, 2016, the Interior Board of Land Appeals remanded the BLM’s Decision Record. The BLM reviewed the EA and signed a second Finding of No Significant Impacts (FONSI) and Decision Record on 12/21/2016.
OSMRE reviewed BLM’s EA and determined that there would not be any significant environmental impacts. OSMRE prepared an unsigned FONSI, and pursuant to 30 CFR 746.13. OSMRE is adopting BLM’s EA and release an unsigned FONSI to the public for review, pursuant to the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. The Foidel Creek Mine is located approximately 20 miles southwest of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The Foidel Creek Mine uses underground longwall mining methods. TC is currently mining private coal. The Project proposes to add approximately 310 coal acres and approximately 340,000 tons of federal coal to the approved federal mining plan. The average current TC production rate is 4 million tons per year (Mtpy) and the maximum permitted production rate is 8 Mtpy. The production rate at Foidel Creek Mine is expected to be 3.5 – 4 Mtpy. TC started operation in 1996 and the mine will continue to operate until 2031 under the current, approved mining plan. The Project would extend the life of the mine by approximately 1-2 years, to 2033.