Brian Maffly – The Salt Lake Tribune
After two years of “supplemental” study, the U.S. Forest Service has issued a new environmental review of a proposed coal lease that could keep Utah’s oldest and most productive mine operating for an additional nine years.
The Sufco Mine has been pulling high-quality coal from under the southern Wasatch Plateau since 1941 and has been a crucial economic driver for Sevier and Emery counties. The mine operates on the Sevier side of the county line, about 30 miles southeast of Salina.
The Greens Hollow lease is needed to feed the mine’s future operations, which could otherwise run out of coal to mine as early as next year, according to the 415-page draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
“It’s an extension of what we’ve been doing versus shutting down,” said Ken May, the mine’s general manager. “It’s perpetuating energy development and protecting jobs.”