Only recently, the US Forest Service decided that, despite several complaints filed by environmentalists and concerned citizens, corporate giant Arch Coal must be allowed to expand one of its coal mines (i.e. West Elk) into the Colorado wilderness.More precisely, the US Forest Service ruled against an appeal filed back in September by various groups of conservationist who did not really approve of Arch Coal and its project to expand the West Elk mine.
Several conservation groups that have long argued that this planned expansion of the coal mine will destroy the natural habitat of species such as the lynx, the black bear, the elk and the goshawk, now claim that this decision proves that the Obama administration is not as hostile to the coal industry as it claims to be.
“The Forest Service has literally paved the way for a coal mega-corporation to destroy real bear habitat,” explains Ted Zukoski from the green-oriented group Earthjustice.
Furthermore, “The Sunset Roadless Area is a beautiful forest of aspen and giant spruce, beaver lodges and meadows, a home for elk and hawks. This is a place the Forest Service should be protecting for all Coloradoans, not sacrificing to appease special interests.”
According to Earthjustice, Arch Coal's being allowed to expand its mining operations into the Colorado Wilderness will translate into about 6.5 miles of road being bulldozed, and 48 natural gas drilling pads popping up across 1,700 acres of land.
Roger Singer, Sierra Club Senior representative in Colorado, wished to emphasize the fact that, “This decision is especially poorly timed, coming just two days after the American people re-elected President Obama, who has helped establish the U.S. as the global leader in reducing carbon pollution.”
Besides dealing with this problem, the Obama administration will soon also have to come up with a way to make peace with a group of conservationists who intend to rally and march to Washington D.C. in order to protest the Keystone Pipeline.