Saturday, December 27, 2008

Black Mesa coal permit revision approved

The U.S. Office of Surface Mining issued a revised permit that allows Peabody Coal to combine the Kayenta mine and now-closed Black Mesa mine despite opposition from environmental groups and members of the Navajo and Hopi tribes. The Kayenta mine supplies 8.5 million tons of coal to the Navajo Generating Station in Page.

The OSM decision doesn't automatically allow mining to resume at the Black Mesa mine but is a necessary step. It shut down in 2006 when the Mohave Generating Station closed in Laughlin, Nevada, which used the entire output of the mine.

Opposition to the mine has been over concerns about groundwater use and religious significance of the area. Proponents of expanding the Peabody operating area point to the jobs and economic benefits to the tribes. [right, dragline at Kayenta mine. Credit, Peabody Coal]

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