Friday, July 20, 2012

Coal mine officials speak out on their proposal to expand operations in Kane County

For a big hole in the ground in an out-of-the-way place, a project near here is generating a surprising amount of controversy. Although it's in a rarely visited valley, three miles from a town most Utahns have never heard of, a proposal to expand the Coal Hollow Mine generated 177,000 public comments to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

The BLM last week announced that a controversial proposal to expand mining operations deserves another look.

Mine officials say their side of the story has not been fairly told in the media and they claim to be victims of exaggerations and distortions by their critics.

"Unfortunately, we've been portrayed that we're right there on top of Bryce (Canyon National Park), and that's not correct," said Coal Hollow Mine General Manager Larry Johnson.

Coal Hollow is Utah's only surface coal mine, also known as a strip mine. Although it is a tiny operation by industry standards, it has generated a mountain of controversy, largely because it's located just a few miles from a national park. Deseret News