Proposal under Analysis
The proposed action is for BLM to offer the Alton Coal Lease Tract in Kane County for competitive leasing in response to Alton Coal Development, LLC's application for leasing under the Lease by Application process set forth at 43 CFR 3425. The Tract would be offered for competitive lease with BLM's standard terms and conditions contained in lease form 3400-12 and special coal lease stipulations consistent with BLM policies and the Zion MFP (1981). The Alton Coal Lease Tract has been delineated by BLM and encompasses approximately 3,600 acres of federal coal reserves.
The tract is proposed for development by surface mining methods to assure maximum economic recovery of the resource. There is an estimated 46 million tons of in-place Federal coal. The potential to recover commercially viable quantities of subsurface coal is consistent with reasonable mining activities for coal. Allowing surface coal mining in this area is in conformance with the Zion Management Framework Plan (MFP) 1981.
In the U.S., 90% of coal consumption is for electricity generation. Between 2004 and 2030 total electricity sales in the U.S. are expected to increase by 50%. By 2030 coal-fired plants are expected to account for 57% of all electricity generation, up from 50% in 2004.1
The Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 (MLA) requires that all public lands not specifically closed to leasing be open to lease for the exploration and development of mineral resources.
Some of the laws governing coal leasing and development include:
BLM Statutory Mandates and Authority Governing Federal Coal Leasing
Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 (MLA)
Federal Coal Leasing Act Amendments of 1976
Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977
Leasing by Application Regulations, 43 Code of
Federal Regulations 3425.1
Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA) (BLM’s multiple-use mandate)
Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPA)
1 Annual Energy Outlook 2006 With Projections to 2030. Department of Energy / Energy Information Administration. February 2006