Several local and national environmental organizations have filed a petition with the Utah Board of Oil, Gas and Mining, stressing opposition to a proposed strip coal mine near Alton.

A November 18 petition was filed with the agency in objection to the proposed mine by the Utah Chapter of the Sierra Club, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the National Parks Conservation Association. Their complaint concerns what they believe to be the agency’s failure to adequately account for the potential for harmful impacts on the area’s water, air, wildlife and cultural resources. The issue of the mine’s close proximity to Bryce National Park and truck traffic in the scenic area are of focus.

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

The State of Utah approval concerned mining on private land and retrieving the coal in a surface operation. 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, with a decision expected in the first quarter of 2010.