About the Project
The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (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 mining plan decision document (MPDD) recommending approval, disapproval or conditional approval of the proposed mining plan modification. The Assistant Secretary for Lands and Minerals Management (ASLM) is responsible for approval, disapproval, or conditional approval the mining plan approval document within the mining plan decision document, as required under the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920.
OSMRE Western Region, will prepare an environmental assessment (EA) to analyze environmental impacts of a Federal mining plan approval for current and future mining within Federal Coal Leases Nos. C-079641 and C-07519 held by Trapper Mining Inc. as part of the Trapper Mine. The EA will cover the time period beginning July 1, 2015, and continuing through the planned life of mine for the portion of the two Federal coal lease areas lying within the approved Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA) Permit Area (the Project). As required by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), the EA will disclose the potential for direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts to the environment from the Project. The EA will also 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 significant impact is reached OSMRE will prepare a MPDD.
Preparation of the EA will be completed pursuant to the Court-approved Joint Proposed Remedy, as approved by the United States District Court for the District of Colorado on September 14, 2015, in the case entitled WildEarth Guardians v. U.S. Office of Surface Mining et al., Case 1:13-cv-00518-RBJ (D. Colo. 2015). As part of the Court-approved remedy, OSMRE agreed to conduct a new NEPA analysis for Trapper’s current and future mining activities within Federal Coal Leases Nos. C-079641 and C-07519.
The Trapper Mine is located approximately 6 miles south of the town of Craig in Moffat County, Colorado, east of Colorado Highway 13. Coal drilling exploration in the Trapper Mine area began in 1954. Construction began on the mine facilities in 1975. Mining operations began in 1977, with the first coal delivery in 1978. In 1979, BLM completed the Final EIS for the Federal Coal Management Program and the Secretary of the Interior adopted a new program for the management of coal resources on Federal lands. The potential environmental impacts of leasing Federal coal resources in Colorado and Wyoming were analyzed in the Final Green River - Hams Fork Regional Coal EIS (BLM 1980).
The proposed Project is occurring on two federal coal leases administered by the Bureau of Land Management and located within the eastern portion of the Trapper Mine’s approved SMCRA Permit Area. Federal Coal Lease C-07519 was issued by the BLM in June 1958 and Federal Coal Lease C-079641 was issued by the BLM in October 1962. The leases within the SMCRA Permit (C-1981-010 ) cover a total of approximately 2,423 acres of Federal mineral estate. As of July 1, 2015, approximately 19 million tons of recoverable Federal coal remains within the Project area. The Trapper Mine uses a combination of dragline, truck shovel, and highwall mining methods to remove the overburden and mine the coal producing approximately 2.3 million tons of coal per year.