ePlanning DOI-BLM-CO-F020-2019-0014-EA (New Elk Coal LBA)  
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07/05/2019 11:36:31 MDT
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is seeking public comments on a preliminary Environmental Assessment (EA) for a proposed coal lease on split-estate lands in Las Animas County, Colorado.  The link to EA is under Documents on left.  

The BLM is holding a public hearing on the proposal, including fair market value and maximum economic recovery, July 24, 2019 from 6:00pm. to 8:00 p.m. at Mount Carmel Wellness and Community Center, 911 Robinson Avenue, Trinidad, CO 81082.  

All comments, except for those submitted verbally during the public hearing, must be submitted electronically through this site by midnight (MST) August 5, 2019.  Submit comments through the Documents page in the navigation links on the left.  

Please note that comments and information submitted regarding this project, including email addresses and street addresses of respondents, will be available for public review and disclosure at the above address.  Individual respondents may request confidentiality.  If you wish to withhold your name, email address, or street address from public view or from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, you must state this prominently at the beginning of your written comment. Such requests will be honored to the extent allowed by the law.  All submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives of officials of organizations or businesses, will be made available for public inspection in their entirety.

The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is analyzing a coal lease application submitted by the New Elk Coal Company, LLC (NECC) for federal coal located adjacent to the New Elk Coal Mine in Las Animas County, Colorado.  
  The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Royal Gorge Field Office (RGFO) is preparing an Environmental Assessment (EA) for a proposed coal lease on split-estate lands.  New Elk Coal Company, LLC (NECC) has applied to the BLM for a 1,279-acre coal lease by application (LBA) COC71978 for lands adjacent to their existing New Elk Coal Mine.  The geographic area considered for the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis for this EA is located in Las Animas County.  The lease tracts are located to the west of Weston, Colorado.  The proposed LBA is for the Blue and Maxwell coal seams.

The proposed lease tracts are located approximately 26 miles west of Trinidad, Colorado, to the north of Colorado Highway 12 and the Purgatoire River. The proposed lease tracts contain federal coal only. All other minerals directly adjacent to the lease areas, including oil and gas within the lease areas are privately owned. The land surface above the federal coal and directly adjacent are privately owned by a number of individuals.

There is no planned surface disturbance in the proposed area.  

If the BLM decides to lease the coal, it would then be offered by competitive sale.  If the coal lease is issued to NECC, the lease acreage would be added to the existing permit for the New Elk Mine (C1981012).  The New Elk Mine is an underground room and pillar coal mine, operated without retreat mining methods.  The lease application area contains an estimated 15 million tons of coal in place. Approximately 11 million tons are estimated to be recoverable. Of the 73 million tons of coal currently planned to be mined at the New Elk Mine, it is estimated that these 11 million additional tons of federal coal would extend the projected 30-year lifespan of the mine by 5 years.
  Historically, portions of the proposed lease have been leased by Colorado Fuel & Iron (CF&I) and Basin Resources, the previous owners of the Golden Eagle and New Elk Coal mines (formerly the Allen Mine). The leases were relinquished upon closure of the New Elk mine in 1996.

The Allen (New Elk) Mine was originally opened in 1951 by CF&I to produce metallurgical coal for its steel works in Pueblo, Colorado. In 1981, the mine was sold to Wyoming Fuel Company. They installed a processing plant used to wash coal. After the New Elk Mine was closed in 1984, the plant was operated to wash coal from the Golden Eagle Mine and later to process coal from the Lorencito Canyon Mine. The New Elk Mine began mining the Maxwell and Blue coal seams in 2009 which was suspended in 2014.  No mining is currently being conducted, however, the permits remain in active status, so mining can begin when contracts are signed with potential customers.
  Legal land description
Parcel Sixth PM
Township, Range, Section
Lot or Aliquot Part Acres
I T33S, R67W Sec 18 Lots 2 thru 4 107.66
E1/2SW1/4                                      80.00
T33S, R67W Sec 19 Lot 1 36.22
NW1/4NE1/4, NE1/4NW1/4  80.00
T33S, R68W Sec 13 S1/2NE1/4, N1/2SE1/4, SE1/4SE1/4   200.00
II T33S, R67W Sec 6 Lots 2 thru 7 219.94
E1/2SW1/4 80.00
T33S, R67W Sec 7 Lot 2 35.09
T33S, R68W Sec 1 Lots 1 & 2   80.72
S1/2NE1/4, E1/2SE1/4 160.00
T33S, R68W Sec 12 E1/2NE1/4   80.00
III T33S, R67W Sec 17 E1/2NE1/4, NE1/4SE1/4  120.00
Total Lease Application Acres 1,279.63