Public comment starting soon for Trapper coal mine
October 16, 2015
The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement will begin the 30-day public comment period on Trapper Mine's environmental assessment with a community outreach meeting on Oct. 29.
The open-house meeting will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. at Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion and offer displays and handouts explaining the status of the project.
Representatives from OSMRE and Trapper Mining, Inc., will be present to explain the National Environmental Policy Act and answer questions on the process.
Bill Ray, public information officer for Trapper, said Moffat County's attendance at the meeting and participation throughout the comment process is crucial.
"This process is vital to Trapper's future, and we believe to the community's future," he said. "We encourage community members to come to the meeting, to provide written comments and to stand with Trapper."
Ray said throughout the comment period, Trapper would continue to work with the community to help it stay informed. Future public meetings organized by Trapper are a possibility but none have been scheduled so far.
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Chris Holmes, public affairs specialist for OSMRE, said all comments are accepted but substantive ones are the most useful.
"The comments that we look for are those that have carefully examined all the issues, looked at the specific permit that's in question and the revisions," he said. "Substantive comments are what carry the most weight."
The meeting is the result of a court ordered redo of Trapper's 2009 mine-plan modification approval, which was brought into question by the environmental advocacy group WildEarth Guardians.
In federal district court, Judge R. Brooke Jackson agreed that OSMRE had not taken into account the indirect impacts of mining coal or sought adequate public comment when recommending approval of the mine's operations to the Department of the Interior — steps he found were mandated by NEPA.
Moffat County Commissioner John Kinkaid said he would like to remind the community that it is not out of the woods after Colowyo and everyone needs to show just as much support for Trapper.
"Yogi Berra says, 'It ain't over 'til it's over,'" he said. "I would not get complacent."
For information and to find out how to submit your comment visit http://www.wrcc.osmre.gov/initiatives/trapperMine/documentLibrary.shtm.