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Judge Halts West Elk Mine Expansion

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(credit: iStock)

(credit: iStock)

DENVER (AP) — A federal judge has blocked a coal mine expansion planned in Gunnison County, ruling that federal authorities wrongly ignored carbon costs when approving the expansion of Arch Coal Inc.’s West Elk Mine.

U.S. District Court Judge R. Brooke Jackson halted any construction, road-building or mining activity on about 1,700 acres in the Sunset Roadless Area, near Paonia.

In the order issued Friday, Jackson ruled that the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management wrongly approved the company’s planned expansion without considering the cost of associated greenhouse gas emissions.

The expansion was approved in 2012 but challenged by the environmental advocacy law group EarthJustice.

Jackson ordered both sides to suggest remedies for how the expansion application should be reconsidered.

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