Potential impact of coal mine expansion on Colorado's environment and tourism industry

Last Modified: Sun Jul 30 2017 20:02:06 GMT+0530 (India Standard Time)
  • 1,700 acre
    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.
  • Jun 2017
    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.
  • 48
    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.
  • $4.8 billion
    Revenue generated by Colorado's winter tourism industry in 2016 alone, which over time would be at risk if environmental damage is not addressed.
  • 1,100
    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.
  • 46,000
    Jobs supported by the winter tourism industry alone.
  • 62,000
    Clean energy jobs in the state and just one wind turbine manufacturer, Vestas, employs nearly 4,000 people in the state.