July 7, 2017 - Yesterday the BLM Wyoming Rock Springs Field Office approved a coal lease modification for Black Butte Coal Company, allowing the mining of approximately 9.2 million tons of coal.
The lease modification is located within the existing Black Butte Surface Mine, which is located 25 miles east of Rock Springs, Wyoming.
The Environmental Assessment (EA), Finding of No Significant Impact, and Decision Record for the lease modification are posted online at http://bit.ly/blackbutteleasemod.
Black Butte Coal Company applied for the modification of an existing lease in order to avoid the bypass of mine-able federally managed coal located in two tracts totaling 450 acres.
Approval of this lease modification supports the Administration’s all-of-the-above energy development plan, which includes coal, oil and gas, strategic minerals and renewable sources such as wind, geothermal, and solar.
Initial public scoping on the modified coal lease was conducted from November to December 2014.
A single public comment was received and used to aid in the development of the EA.
The Rock Springs Field Manager’s decision to authorize the lease modification is subject to administrative review through the appeal process as outlined in the Decision Record.
The BLM is responsible for the multiple use of public lands and resources, including responsible development of energy and mineral resources.
According to BLM regulations, a coal lease can be modified when: 1) the modification serves the interests of the United States; 2) there is no competitive interest in the lands or deposits; and 3) the additional lands or deposits cannot be developed as part of another potential or existing independent operation.
Consistent with those regulations, the BLM will receive fair market value from the Bridger Coal Company for lands and coal added to the lease by the modification.
The BLM determines fair market value of coal consistent with the updated Coal Valuation Manual and Handbook.
The Department of the Interior’s Office of Valuation Services independently reviews and verifies the fair market value for coal.