Time to talk coal in Mesa County

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. A prospective coal mine land lease near Garfield and Mesa counties raises economic and environmental questions among Western Slope community members and one Grand Valley group aims to deliver some answers.

Thursday night the Western Colorado Congress of Mesa County hosted a community forum to discuss some of the issues that a pending coal mine land lease from the Bureau of Land Management may bring to the area.

The stretch of land in question for the mine is located 15 miles north of Fruita in the Bookcliffs and spans 14,000 acres near the Mesa and Garfield County lines.

“We're not either for or against the coal mine, we just want to make sure it follows certain environmental and other regulations,” says Eric Rechel of the WCC.

The hot topics are dividing the community on the issue include the lowering of air quality in the valley with the creation of a coal mine, the minimal compensation the federal government receives from the export of our coal, and how the mining area overlaps into part of our wilderness areas.

It's the hope of organizers to inform and educate the public on the impacts this mine could bring to Mesa County so they can adequate respond to state and federal leaders when the time for public comment on the coal mine comes.

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