The existing Coal Hollow mine site. Copyright Ray Bloxham/SUWA.

Please see these links for background on this issue:

Save Bryce Canyon from Coal Mining

Adventure Journal

Governor Gary Herbert’s shady involvement

Following is the letter I wrote to Keith Rigtrup, Director of the Kanab BLM field office, one of the decisionmakers in the Alton Coal Mine proposal to expand onto public lands.

Mr. Rigtrup:

Please say “NO ACTION ALTERNATIVE” to this proposal! 

You have the keys to the Kingdom, so to speak.  The proposal to expand the Alton Coal Development onto public lands is a heavy-handed, short-term and extremely limited proposal that will benefit a mere handful of people.  These lands are public lands, meaning that everyone in this country can consider themselves a part-owner. 

The environmental study has shown the environmental and habitat damage that will occur.  You, as BLM director in this area, know that these are marginal lands.  These lands will NEVER, in our human lifetime, recover from the damage done by this strip coal mine.  This mine proposal is not the same as discussing roads and trails.   You know this!

If a private land owner decides that he can do this to his property, so be it.  It destroys the ecosystem, disrupts wildlife habitat, and destroys the natural beauty of the land but if the owner cares more about his $ intake, it is his right, and on his conscience.  These, however, are public lands.  You are the director, the manager, the steward of these lands and what lives in them. 

I am from southern Utah.  I grew up in Cannonville, in Bryce Valley.  I know these lands, know their beauty and their fragility.  I have extreme concerns for the impact on Bryce Canyon, and other areas westward from this proposed development.  My direct concern, however, is for the land itself.  It is unbelievable to me that anyone is even willing to consider this proposal knowing the destruction, disruption and lack of recoverability of these lands.   You know how long even tracks last in these soils.  How can you, knowing this, even consider this proposal?  Please, say NO ACTION ALTERNATIVE; please!

Please write and voice your opposition to this proposal.  There is a meeting tonight, December 7 at the Salt Lake City Library at 6:00 pm.  Please go if possible.  Please write:

  • Keith Rigtrup, Bureau of Land Management, Kanab Office:
  • Juan Palma, Bureau of Land Management, Utah State Director:
  • Bob Abbey, Bureau of Land Management, National Director:
  • Department of the Interior, Attn. Secretary Ken Salazar:

Links to other contacts:


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