About the Project
In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) has prepared an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) analyzing the impacts of the San Juan Coal Company’s (SJCC) proposed Deep Lease Extension (DLE) Mining Plan Modification at the existing underground San Juan Mine, located approximately 4 miles northeast of Waterflow and 15 miles west of Farmington in San Juan County, New Mexico (NM). The EIS analyzed the direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of the Company’s DLE, Federal Coal Lease NM-99144, at the existing San Juan Mine. The Final EIS also analyzed the effects of coal combustion at the Public Service Company of New Mexico’s San Juan Generating Station (SJGS or the Generating Station). Based on the analysis completed in the EIS, OSMRE has prepared a Record of Decision (ROD).
Preparation of the EIS and ROD will be completed pursuant to the court-approved Voluntary Remand, as approved by the United States District Court for the District of NM on August 31, 2016, in the case entitled WildEarth Guardians v. U.S. Office of Surface Mining et al., Case 1:14-cv-00112-RJ-CG (D. NM 2016). As part of the court-approved Voluntary Remand, OSMRE agreed to prepare an EIS and Mining Plan Decision Document within three years for the San Juan Mine’s mining activity within Federal Coal Lease NM-99144, the DLE, beginning in 2008 and continuing through the life of reserves for the DLE. The San Juan Mine currently delivers approximately 6 million tons per year (tpy) of coal from the DLE and other approved mining areas to the Generating Station and will continue delivering at that rate through 2017. It is anticipated that approximately 3 million tpy of coal from the DLE and other approved mining areas would be delivered to the Generating Station post-2017. Mining activities within the DLE have been ongoing since OSMRE approval in 2008 and continue presently. Per the Voluntary Remand, mining operations within the DLE are allowed to proceed during the development of the EIS.
The underground operations at San Juan Mine use longwall mining methods consisting of one longwall miner and continuous miner in the development portion of the Mine. Underground mining occurs within multiple state and federal lease areas at the San Juan Mine; these are generally referred to as the Deep Lease and DLE Areas. Since authorization in 2008, the Company has mined approximately 18 million tons of coal in the DLE. The mine currently employs approximately 360 people. The approved NM MMD permit area would not increase from its present approximate size of 17,726 acres. A total of approximately 15,404 acres of federally owned coal remains within the current San Juan Mine permit area, approximately 4,484 acres of which is within the DLE. The 2008 mining plan modification would not increase any acres of federal surface lands or any acres of federal coal to the approved permit area, but would authorize the recovery of approximately 36.6 million tons of federal coal from 4,484 acres of federal coal from the DLE. The remaining coal reserves in the DLE and other approved mining areas will allow the mine to continue operating at the anticipated mining rates until approximately 2033. The post-mining land use remains grazing and wildlife habitat.
On April 26, 2019, the OSMRE published the Notice of Availability (NOA) for the ROD in the Federal Register. The NOA and ROD is available on the Document Librarypage of this website.