April 6 2015 – Today the U.S. Forest Service announced a proposal to reinstate the same loophole that allowed Arch Coal access to build roads and scrape well pads over thousands of acres of otherwise-protected, publicly-owned National Forest and crucial wildlife habitat in Colorado. Today's announcement puts the Forest Service dangerously out of step with the rest of the Obama Administration when it comes to addressing climate change.
Last summer, the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado invalidated the loophole and denied Arch Coal’s mining proposal, stating that the Forest Service had ignored the climate change impacts of the proposed action. By reinstating this same loophole, the Forest Service is once again giving Arch Coal access to publicly-owned coal, while carving up roadless forests and emitting half a billion tons of carbon pollution.
In response, national and local conservation groups called on the Forest Service to rescind its proposal to reinstate the loophole and to instead protect the Colorado Roadless Area from destructive coal mining. The 45-day public comment period on the Forest Service loophole proposal closes May 22.