Earlier in 2020, the North Fork Valley was shocked to learn that Arch Resources, owners of the West Elk Mine, had bulldozed a new route deep into the Sunset Roadless Area, despite a recent court decision prohibiting such activities.
In June, the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining, and Safety issued a cessation order to Arch Resources to “prevent further road construction or tree removal within the protected Sunset Colorado Roadless Area”. The order “does not prohibit the company from continuing its current operations below the surface at the mine.”
WSCC supports the State of Colorado’s order and recently sent a letter to the State of Colorado asking them to keep this order in place to protect the Sunset Roadless Area until the courts can clarify important legal uncertainties. We will continue to report on progress and changes as this issue unfolds.
Read our letter to the Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety regarding the Cessation Order in response to Mountain Coal Company unlawfully constructing a new road into the Sunset Roadless Area.
UPDATE: Tenth Circuit blocks coal mining surface disturbance at West Elk
The ruling of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday blocked further construction for coal mine expansion in the Sunset Roadless Area just above the Minnesota Creek Reservoir. The decision prevents further road building and drilling until the challenge is resolved.
“We are heartened that today’s ruling blocks further road construction or drilling in the Sunset Roadless Area during the legal appeal process. This time of year hunters flock from all across the United States to the North Fork’s roadless forest lands, reminding us that our local economy is dependent on the conservation of our public lands. We think the court got it right to be careful with irreplaceable wildlands.” – Scott Braden, Interim Executive Director, Western Slope Conservation Center