The State of Utah, Department of Natural Resources, Division of Oil, Gas and Mining, under Director John Baza, released an October 19 decision and application approval with conditions for the Alton Coal Development, LLC, concerning the Coal Hollow Mine.

The State of Utah approval concerns mining on private lands and retrieving the coal in a surface operation. The approval will allow them to mine 2,000,000 tons of coal per year for approximately three years.

The state approval is separate from any applications to mine on public lands nearby, which is going through a separate federal approval process.

Some Panguitch residents are less than charmed with the state approval of the coal project. Coal royalties will go to Kane County, where the surface mining will occur. However, the coal-laden trucks will run through the tourist community of Panguitch, and then on to Cedar City.

Becky and Randy Yard responded in a letter voicing their concerns to Utah Governor Gary Herbert. Within the context of the letter, the following was written:

“Have your driven down the newly designated Highway 143 or Utah’s Scenic Byway Highway 89? If so, you would know how the mining and coal trucks would ruin the most beautiful red rocked scenery that Southern Utah has to offer and that attracts visitors from around the world. Not to mention the effect this would have on all of our wonderful national and state parks. Have you thought what adverse effects coal mining will have on Garfield County’s rivers, streams and wildlife? Please research what Garfield County offers to their residents and visitors.”

Respondents concerned with the state approval have been given 30 days to air their support or problems with the plan. The 30-day hearing request period will end on November 18, 2009.

The public can contact Julie Ann Carter at 801-538-5277 for procedure information concerning board filings.