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Current Presidential Administration limiting funds available for coal producing land like Alton

Following up on the Southern Utah News’ previous piece on the status of Alton coal, some county officials have offered some in­formation to provide additional context for the state of the mine and the consequences of its survival or fail­ure for the county as a whole.


Photo by Tim Peterson via Salt Lake Tribune.

A recent Utah state legislative report states, “the overall [Community Impact Board] is very signifi­cantly reduced from previous years due to several factors, includ­ing, but not limited to, restrictions by the current President’s administration on new leasing of federal lands for coal, natural gas and oil exploration and development of those minerals. The leasing of federal lands for the exploration of these minerals, as well as the actual production of these minerals from that land, is the source of revenue of the CIB that they loan and grant out.”


Bert Harris, with Kane County’s roads department, corrobo­rated the report’s view, stating, “This current administration hasn’t been easy on them. They haven’t moved any coal for at least a few months … and the problems are much bigger than the local managers. It’s no fault of the local guys, it’s more like they couldn’t get the upper manage­ment to make the deci­sions that needed to be made, that wasn’t in their control.” Harris cited increased regula­tions lately, as well as a swing in the general sentiment against coal as a few of the rea­sons coal producers are struggling overall right now.



“I hate to see guys lose their jobs,” Harris says, “but unless some­one comes in and really changes the direction of this thing I don’t see them ever really coming back … the local guys were pretty amenable to try any­thing in their power to work with the county, but as decisions went up the line, that’s when they start to hit snags finding approval to and resources to put into roads and operations.”


According to local county officials, there are still some oper­ations underway to recover value from the mine, including reclaiming local ranch and farm land and re­storing water and air quality regulations. One county source states that the Utah Oil, Gas and Mining di­vision is continuing to work with Alton Coal LLC with these goals in mind, potentially working in support of mine operations.

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