Climate + Energy

Public Hearings Scheduled Over Fate of San Juan Coal Mine


The fate of the San Juan coal mine in northwestern New Mexico is up for review and now is our chance to speak out in favor of shutting down this fossil fuel disaster and helping communities transition to more sustainable and prosperous economies.

If you can, attend one or more of the public hearings scheduled by the U.S. Office of Surface Mining later this month in Colorado and New Mexico. Here are the details, click on the links to RSVP, and read further for more background:

More Background

Last week, the U.S. Office of Surface Mining released a draft environmental impact statement detailing its plans to extend the life of the San Juan mine by another 15 years, or until 2033.

The proposal is nothing short of a complete giveaway to the coal industry. Half of the San Juan Generating Station has already shut down and the other half is scheduled to retire by 2022. Even the mine’s owner, Westmoreland, has signaled it intends to shut down the mine by 2022.

Keeping the mine open until 2033 is just a scheme to use the federal government to prop up a failed coal mine in a desperate attempt to keep it in business.

What’s more, the owner of the San Juan mine, Westmoreland, is on the brink of bankruptcy. So not only is this latest proposal an attempt to keep a failed coal mine in operation, it would basically use taxpayer dollars to prop up a dying coal company.

Last year, a coalition of groups called on the Office of Surface Mining to deny Westmoreland’s demands to keep the San Juan mine open and instead focus its energies on helping communities transition from reliance on coal.

Sadly, these demands fell on deaf ears. According to the Office of Surface Mining’s draft environmental impact statement, all action alternatives would continue to keep the San Juan coal mine in business until 2033.

Nothing in its proposed actions would advance mine reclamation, economic transition, or community support for a shift away from dependence on coal.  

Together with our allies, we’re gearing up to scrutinize the agency’s draft environmental impact statement and renew our call for a new path forward. You can also help bring the pressure by attending one or more of the scheduled public hearings.

In the meantime, stay tuned for more information from WildEarth Guardians. In the next couple of weeks, we’ll be getting an action alert out the door for people to submit comments in opposition to more coal mining at San Juan. And we plan to be at most of the scheduled public hearings.

We need just transition, not more fossil fuel destruction. Join us as we resist these Trump Administration coal giveaways and pave the way for renewable energy, sustainable economies, and prosperity.


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