Southern Utah News Articles
Top Stories for December 2, 2009
Criticism for Alton coal operation mounts
Bruce McMahon of Panguitch is not warm to the proposed new coal strip mine being developed near Alton. “The mine will negatively impact the area. Tourists will read information about it and will not want to come here.”
The State of Utah recently approved (with conditions), a proposed mining project near Alton, which would retrieve the coal in a surface operation on a tract of private land. The approval would 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.
McMahon, his wife and some other business owners are fired up against the proposed Coal Hollow mine.
The McMahons had travelled through the area many times through the years and were charmed by its fresh air and scenic qualities, as well as its proximity to several national parks. They chose the Panguitch area for retirement. McMahon had retired from federal employment, but his wife was not yet ready to do so. They bought and operate a bed and breakfast in Panguitch. They feel the coal mine in Alton, which will be trucked through their community, will have a negative impact on business.
Bruce McMahon cites a number of things to consider in opposition of the issue, including environment quality, trucks creating road/travel congestion on tourism highways, as well as economic, since most of the investors live out of state.
“I think there would be a number of pollution issues. Acid rain could harm the historic ‘soft brick’ that some of the houses in Panguitch were built with,” ventured McMahon.
He feels many mine impacts in the state permit process considering how the public would be affected were not addressed. McMahan believes people need to get more educated. “We’re fighting the knowledge factor,” said McMahan.
He applauds the environmental groups for getting involved, but said that those locally opposed must voice their opinions to get any legal action assistance concerning the issue.