For Immediate Release, September 20, 2016
Contact: Taylor McKinnon, (801) 300-2414, firstname.lastname@example.org
Appeal Halts Lease Sale of Utah National Forests for Coal Mining
SALT LAKE CITY— An appeal by the Center for Biological Diversity and allies has halted the controversial lease auction of national forest lands in Utah for coal mining. In response to the conservation groups’ appeal, the Bureau of Land Management postponed Thursday’s scheduled auction of the Greens Hollow Coal Lease Tract beneath Utah’s Fishlake and Manti-La Sal national forests.
“Leasing Utah’s national forests for coal mining is a terrible idea. It’s bad for our air, bad for the climate, and bad for endangered fish and imperiled birds,” said Taylor McKinnon of the Center. “The Interior secretary has put most federal coal leasing on hold to review a badly broken program that’s completely inconsistent with this country’s climate goals. It makes no sense to make an exception to that leasing moratorium to enable a Utah mine that will hurt important sage grouse habitat and pollute our air and rivers.”
The Greens Hollow Coal Lease Tract would supply approximately 55 million new tons of coal to the Sufco mine. Because already-leased federal coal supplies exceed what we can afford to burn while meeting our Paris climate commitments, any new federal coal leases are inconsistent with avoiding the worst effects of climate change. Besides disrupting important habitat for greater sage grouse, mining of the Greens Hollow Tract would also degrade Utah’s air quality and exacerbate mercury poisoning that affects endangered fish in the Green River.
The appeal was filed by the Center, WildEarth Guardians, Grand Canyon Trust and the Sierra Club; the BLM’s decision to postpone its coal-lease auction buys a needed reprieve for the people, fish and birds that depend on clean air, clean water, undisturbed forests and a stable climate.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.