patch of public land that is the Sunset Roadless Area, a wild landscape of aspen glades, beaver ponds and spruce-fir forests enjoyed by hikers, anglers, hunters and backcountry skiers. The area is now ground zero for the Trump administration’s effort to expand coal mining in Colorado.
17.6 million tons
Estimated amount of coal that St. Louis-based Arch Coal wants to dig through a proposed expansion of the West Elk Mine inside the Gunnison National Forest, where the Sunset Roadless Area is located.
The Forest Service released a draft environmental impact study and proposal that, if implemented, would allow Arch to bulldoze six miles of roads, drill exploratory wells and erect methane drainage wells.
Methane drainage wells that Arch will be able to erect and pump the gas directly into the atmosphere. The move will not only pollute Colorado air (methane gas is a more potent GHG than CO2) but also deny taxpayers the ability to capture and use the gas as a fuel.
Revenue generated by Colorado's winter tourism industry in 2016 alone, which over time would be at risk if environmental damage is not addressed.
Approximate number of coal mining jobs in the state. Coal industry supporters call the mine expansion a job creator. However, comparison with other industry sectors does not bear out this argument.
Jobs supported by the winter tourism industry alone.
Clean energy jobs in the state and just one wind turbine manufacturer, Vestas, employs nearly 4,000 people in the state.