SOMERSET, Colo. (AP) – Federal officials are seeking public comments on a preliminary environmental assessment of plans to expand West Elk Mine.

The mine has been operating for 29 years just east of Somerset in Gunnison County.

The Bureau of Land Management has drafted a finding that Mountain Coal Co.’s proposal to add about 1,700 acres to the mine’s existing federal coal leases in western Colorado won’t have significant impacts on the environment. But the draft hasn’t been signed yet, pending public comments on the preliminary environmental assessment of the mine expansion proposal.

The preliminary assessment, released Friday, includes a look at climate change. The mine operations are expected to produce emissions of greenhouse gases.

The period for the public to submit comments ends July 9.


(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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