rnrn

Coal Diver Everything you wanted to know about coal, but were afraid to ask.

Western-->Uinta Basin

Uinta Basin


Drill into subregion of uinta basin:

History of Coal Mining in Utah and the Uinta Basin

Coal mining in Utah began in the 1850’s, under the aegis of the Mormon church; however, with the completion of the Union Pacific railroad in 1869, and the competing Rio Grande railroad in 1883, the industry became controlled by these tow companies, and coal mining increasingly drew large numbers of Italian, Chinese, Greek, and Mexican immigrants to the otherwise highly homogenous state.

Annual coal production had reached about 1.5 million tons by 1900; in that year, the Scofield mine disaster killed about 200 miners in Scofield, UT (the fifth-worst coal mining disaster in U.S. history), which spurred unionization. Repeated strikes in 1901, 1903, 1910, and 1922 did little to break the power of management; the workers’ safety concerns went largely unheeded, resulting in the Castle Gate mine disaster in 1924 (which killed 172 miners in Castle Gate, UT). Only after another national strike in 1933 was full unionization achieved by the United Mine Workers, which was subsequently granted legal recognition through Pres. Roosevelt’s New Deal labor legislation. Meanwhile, the industry was growing rapidly: production reached 6 million tons in 1920, and more than 7 million tons during World War II.

However, by the mid-1960’s, production had fallen to about 4 million tons – mostly due to the elimination of coal-fired locomotives, which severely impacted coal mining throughout the western U.S. However, during the 1970’s, rising oil prices – along with the Clean Air Act, which drove an increase in demand for Utah’s low-sulfur coal – sparked a boom in Utah coal mining. Annual production rose dramatically to 13.2 million tons in 1980, and then continued to climb to 22.1 million tons in 1990 and 26.0 million tons in 2006.

The 1970’s boom in Utah coal mining also drove a boom in coal-fired power plant construction. Out of Utah’s 5,080 MW of coal-fired generating capacity, 93% comes from plants built since 1974 – unusual in the U.S., where the median coal plant was built in 1964.

Read more about Utah coal mining and the Uinta Basin at CoalSwarm.
This content copyright CoalSwarm and is used in compliance with the GNU Free Documentation License.

Find out more information about

Coal Hollow Mine (Proposed)

Coal Hollow Mine is a proposed coal mine in Kane County, Utah, approximately three miles south of the town of Alton. Alton Coal Development, LLC proposes to surface mine about 2,000,000 tons of fee coal annually for approximately three years.[1] The permit was approved by the State of Utah on November 11, 2009.[2]

Read more about the Coal Hollow Mine at CoalSwarm. This article uses content from the CoalSwarm article “Coal Hollow Mine” on the SourceWatch wiki. The material is provided under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License 1.3.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 “Coal Hollow” Utah.gov, accessed November 2009
  2. 2.0 2.1 Dixie Brunner,“Alton Coal leaps hurdle in getting state approval” Southern Utah News, November 11, 2009
  3. “Utah regulators approve new coal mine” AP story on Charleston Daily Mail, October 27, 2009
  4. “FAQs” Alton Coal Mine Public Website, accessed November 2009

Colorado coal mine OK blasted as roadless rule reversal by Obama administration

November 9, 2011

The US Forest Service has approved a 1700 extension in the mining permit of Arch Coal’s West Elk Mine near Paonia, Colorado. But while Arch Coal touted the decision as good for its job-saving potential, environmental groups decried the decision as flying in the face of the 10th Circuit Court’s decision to uphold the Roadless Rule. As a result of the expanded mining, Arch will have to build 48 well pads and 6.5 miles of roads to handle the venting of methane from the mine, all within the Sunset Trail roadless area adjacent to the West Elk Wilderness Area in Colorado’s Western Slope.

“The public loses a fantastic wild area, loses millions in potential royalties from methane that is wasted instead of captured, and loses due to the massive pollution the mine causes. It’s time the Forest Service stood up to Big Coal and said no to this kind of damaging expansion” said Jeremy Nichols from the environmental organization Wild Earth Guardians.

Read article at http://coloradoindependent.com/105553/colorado-coal-mine-ok-blasted-as-roadless-rule-reversal-by-obama-administration

Coal Hollow Mine to expand five fold

November 3, 2011

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proposed a 3,500-acre expansion to southern Utah’s only strip mine, the Coal Hollow Mine, according to a report released Friday. The current 635-acre mine is operated by Alton Coal Development on private land just southwest of Bryce Canyon National Park. The proposal would allow open-pit mining in areas less than 300 feet from the coal seam, and underground mining where the coal is deeper. The proposed 3.500-acre expansion consists of 1,300-acres of private land overlying federally owned mineral deposits with the remaining 2,200-acres of surface and minerals completely owned by the federal government.

The BLM estimates the mine would operate for 25 years, removing about 50 million tons of coal. The agency has also openly stated localized initial impacts will be significant but resources will eventually be restored after mining and effects on Bryce Canyon National Park will be negligible. These findings were evaluated and reported by the BLM in an Environmental Impact study that began in 2006.

Read report at http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/prog/energy/coal/alton_coal_project/alton_coal_eis.html

Utah’s Dugout Canyon mine accident-free for second year

October 10, 2011

Arch Coal’s Dugout Canyon mine recently eclipsed more than two years of mining without any lost time accidents for its employees, and the adjacent Castle Valley Preparation Plant is now going on five years without a lost time accident. While a May 6, 2011 accident did result in lost time for a contractor, employees have accrued more than 1M manhours of work without an accident, far below the national rate. Even including the contractor accident, the mine is far below the national injury rate.

Read article at http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/money/52692521-79/canyon-dugout-mine-coal.html.csp

Deal would force coal-fired power plants in West to cut more pollution

June 19, 2011

A decade-old mandate to enforce the Clear Air Act for coal-fired power plants will require 18 plants in Colorado, Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming to install new technologies to reduce emissions and decrease haze in surrounding areas. Utilities had already reduced plant emissions over the last decade to decrease pollution in habitable areas, the new standards target old plants previously exempted from the Clean Air Act because they were grandfathered in, and are aimed at decreasing haze in 156 national parks, wilderness areas to much lower levels still. While many think of the endless vistas of the western states, in many places haze is a major problem that can decrease visibility by more than half.

The increased enforcement is a result of an agreement between the Environmental Protection Agency and three other groups, and will become final if a federal judge approves it after a mandatory 30 day comment period. “We’re getting the low-hanging fruit and we expect huge reductions from that effort,” said Gail Fallon, an EPA haze program manager based in Denver. Similar agreements in the works for many more states.

Read article at http://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/montana/article_6eb579f8-9a88-11e0-8f2d-001cc4c002e0.html

Haystack mine road moves forward

April 12, 2011

The proposed Haystack Mine in Uinta County, WY has passed another major hurdle. The Wyoming Business Council has awarded the Kiewit Mining Group a $1.5M grant to build a road to the site of the proposed mine. With this permission, Kiewit expects to obtain the necessary permits from the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality by the end of June.

Because the WY Department of Transportation has to schedule the construction of a permanent road, the first road will be a temporary one built by Kiewit to the standards of the WY DOT. The permanent road will probably be built in the summer of 2012.

Read article at http://www.uintacountyherald.com/v2_news_articles.php?heading=0&story_id=4395&page=72

Former Wyoming governor joins Arch Coal board

February 23, 2011

Dave Freudenthal, former governor of Wyoming, has been named to the board of Arch Coal. Arch mined 160M tons of coal last year, much of it in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin and Green River regions. Freudenthal served two terms as governor and was very popular in the state, in spite being a Democrat in a strongly Republican state.

Read article at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-02-23/former-wyoming-governor-joins-arch-coal-board.html

MSHA announces results of January 2011 impact and regularly scheduled inspections

February 17, 2011

MSHA has announced the results of the January 2011 impact inspections. The inspections, which are the result of stepped-up enforcement of safety as a result of the Upper Big Branch disaster in April 2010, issued a total of 208 citations and seven orders to the fifteen coal mines on the list.

MSHA was especially critical of the conditions it found in the RB 12 Mine controlled by Manalapan Mining. Inspectors found three defective gas detectors, two gas detectors that were turned off and had dead batteries, and one gas detector that was used for a pre-shift inspection was completely turned off during the inspection (when turned on it was found to be defective). Inspectors also found several electrocution hazards, that ribs and supports were not in proper condition creating a roof-collapse risk, and coal dust along a conveyor had accumulated causing an explosion risk. RB-12 was issued a total of 27 citations and orders; two other Manalapan mines were inspected resulted in 21 citations and 11 citations respectively.

Read press release at http://www.msha.gov/MEDIA/PRESS/2011/NR110216.pdf and analysis of the report by Ken Ward, Jr. at http://blogs.wvgazette.com/coaltattoo/2011/02/17/the-latest-results-of-msha-impact-inspections/ See the master inspection list at http://coaldiver.org/documents/master-inspection-list-targeted-enforcement-jan-2011

UP’s PRB coal train loadings climbed in November

December 7, 2010

Union Pacific is reporting a small increase in the number of coal-trains leaving the Southern Powder River Basin in November 2010, compared with the same period the year before (968 trains per day versus 939). During the same period, loadings in the Utah/Colorado region dropped from 245 to 189.

Read article at http://www.progressiverailroading.com/news/article/UP%E2%80%99s-PRB-coal-train-loadings-climbed-in-November–25200

Arch’s Profits Slip below Consensus

November 1, 2010

Coal producer Arch Coal has missed the consensus net adjusted earnings rate for its latest quarter reporting a profit of 35 cents per share instead of the 37 cents per share predicted. This is in spite of Arch raising its production for Q3 2010 to 43.7 million tons of coal compared with Q3 2009 production of 29.1 million tons. Additionally Arch reduced its cost per ton produced from $13.70 from its cost of $15.75 Q3 last year, and raised its predicted production to a total of 155–158 million tons for 2010.

Read article at http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Archs-Profits-Slip-below-zacks-2753873038.html

Navajos Hope to Shift From Coal to Wind and Sun

Coal mining and coal-fired electrical generation has brought an economic lifeline to the Navajo people, even as it has those industries have polluted their lands and air. Now, a new movement within the nation is calling for a change. Earl Tulley, a Navajo housing official, is running for vice president of the Navajo Nation in the Nov. 2 election, represents a growing movement among Navajos that embraces environmental healing and greater reliance on the sun and wind, abundant resources on a 17 million-acre reservation spanning Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/26/science/earth/26navajo.html

Red Cliff Mine – Draft Environmental Impact Statement

Draft EIS for the Red Cliff Mine, proposed to be near Loma, CO.

Front Matter
Appendices
Main Body

Coal Hollow Mine to expand five fold

November 3, 2011

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proposed a 3,500-acre expansion to southern Utah’s only strip mine, the Coal Hollow Mine, according to a report released Friday. The current 635-acre mine is operated by Alton Coal Development on private land just southwest of Bryce Canyon National Park. The proposal would allow open-pit mining in areas less than 300 feet from the coal seam, and underground mining where the coal is deeper. The proposed 3.500-acre expansion consists of 1,300-acres of private land overlying federally owned mineral deposits with the remaining 2,200-acres of surface and minerals completely owned by the federal government.

The BLM estimates the mine would operate for 25 years, removing about 50 million tons of coal. The agency has also openly stated localized initial impacts will be significant but resources will eventually be restored after mining and effects on Bryce Canyon National Park will be negligible. These findings were evaluated and reported by the BLM in an Environmental Impact study that began in 2006.

Read report at http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/prog/energy/coal/alton_coal_project/alton_coal_eis.html

Bonding Adequacy Oversight Report – Western Region – Dept of Interior – 2010

State by state survey of practices for bonding coal mines. Published July 8, 2010

/documents/bonding-adequacy-oversight-report-western-region-dept-of-interior-2010

MSHA Internal Audits, Region 9, 2010

Reports from MSHA Office of Accountability reviews of MSHA inspectors in region 9.

/documents/msha-internal-audits-region-9-2010

Master Inspection List, Targeted Enforcement, Nov 2010

A list of the mines inspected and citations issued in the November 2010 push by MSHA to reinspect mines with a pattern of violations.

Coal mines included on the list were:

/documents/master-inspection-list-targeted-enforcement-nov-2010

Richfield Field Office – Proposed Resource Management Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement – Maps – 2008

Maps for the Richfield Proposed Resource Management Plan.

/documents/richfield-field-office-proposed-resource-management-plan-and-final-environmental-impact-statement-maps-2008

Richfield Field Office – Proposed Resource Management Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement – App.8 – Coal Resources – 2

This appendix speaks specifically to the plan for coal resources within the planning area.

/documents/richfield-field-office-proposed-resource-management-plan-and-final-environmental-impact-statement-app-8-coal-resources-2008

Moab – Draft Resource Management Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement – 2007

Plan for 2.5 million acres near the Moab Field Office of the Utah Bureau of Land Management.

/documents/moab-draft-resource-management-plan-and-draft-environmental-impact-statement-2007

Richfield Field Office – Proposed Resource Management Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement – Vol 1 to 3 of 3 – 2008

An analysis of the proposed resource management plan for South-central Utah including Sanpete, Sevier, Piute and Wayne counties as well as parts of Garfield and Kane County. Plan covers approximately 2.1 million surface and mineral estate acres.

/documents/richfield-field-office-proposed-resource-management-plan-and-final-environmental-impact-statement-vol-1-to-3-of-3-2008

Moab – Final Resource Management Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement – 2008

Plan for 2.5 million acres near the Moab Field Office of the Utah Bureau of Land Management.

/documents/moab-final-resource-management-plan-and-draft-environmental-impact-statement-2008