About the Project
The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE), Western Region Office, prepared an environmental assessment (EA) and unsigned finding of no new significant impact (FONNSI) for the Greens Hollow Tract, Sufco Mine mining plan modification for federal coal lease UTU-84102 (the Project). In accordance with the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 (MLA), The DOI Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management (ASLM) must approve the Project before any mining and reclamation can occur on lands containing leased federal coal.
The Sufco underground coal mine, in Sevier County, Utah has been in operation since 1941. The Greens Hollow tract is under National Forest lands managed by the Manti-La Sal and Fishlake National Forests. The coal resources are also federal resources and are managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The Greens Hollow Tract is approximately 10.5 air miles west of the town of Emery, Utah. On January 4, 2017, the BLM sold the Greens Hollow Federal Coal Lease UTU-84102 to the highest bidder, which was Canyon Fuel Company, LLC. Prior to the lease sale, the BLM and the Forest Service conducted an environmental impact statement, supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS), and made their respective decisions. OSMRE participated as a cooperating agency along with Utah DOGM. The Forest Service consented to the leasing of the Greens Hollow Federal Coal Lease UTU-84102 on October 5, 2015 and the BLM issued the lease March 14, 2017.
OSMRE prepared the EA to evaluate the environmental impacts resulting from the Project, pursuant to the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). The Greens Hollow Final SEIS decisions approved the sale of the Greens Hollow tract lease, approximately 6,175 acres, for production of federal coal reserves, along with conditions to protect the environment which were included as lease stipulations. Approximately 6,096 acres of the tract lies on the Manti-La Sal National Forest; while 79 acres on the southern edge of the tract lie on the Fishlake National Forest. The lease sale made approximately 55.7 million tons of recoverable coal available. Canyon Fuel Company, LLC, operator of the Sufco Mine in Utah, submitted a permit application package to the Utah Division of Oil, Gas, and Mining on April 17, 2017, to modify its approved Mine and Reclamation Plan to add the federal coal included in the Greens Hollow Lease Tract (UTU-84102).
The EA will update, clarify, and provide new and additional environmental information for the Project. As a result of the EA process, OSMRE will determine whether or not there are significant environmental impacts. An environmental impact statement will be prepared if the EA identifies significant impacts. If a finding of no new significant impact is reached, and pursuant to 30 CFR 746.13, OSMRE will prepare and submit to the ASLM a mining plan decision document recommending approval, disapproval, or conditional approval of the mining plan. The ASLM will approve, disapprove, or conditionally approve the mining plan approval document within the mining plan decision document, as required under the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920.