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March 22, 2006
Contact: Lesley A. Collins
307-261-7603

Gold Mine Draw Draft EA Available:
Public Hearing Scheduled for April 11, 2006

The Gold Mine Draw Exchange Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) is available for review from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Casper Field Office.

Powder River Coal Company has proposed to exchange their lease rights on the Gold Mine Draw tract, a 921-acre tract of Federal coal that includes portions of two existing Federal coal leases at the Caballo Mine, located 10 miles south of Gillette. The Gold Mine Draw tract contains an alluvial valley floor which cannot be mined because it has been determined to be significant to farming.

The draft EA describes eight tracts of unleased Federal coal adjacent to Powder River Coal Company’s Caballo, North Antelope Rochelle, and Rawhide Mines that could be exchanged for the lease rights to the Gold Mine Draw Tract. The value of the coal lease rights in the tract or tracts that are selected for exchange must be equal to the value of the coal lease rights included in the Gold Mine Draw Tract. Powder River Coal Company would relinquish their lease rights to the Federal coal in the Gold Mine Draw Tract in exchange for obtaining the lease rights to the Federal coal in the tract or tracts that BLM selects for exchange. BLM anticipates that the tract or tracts that are exchanged would be incorporated into the adjacent mine or mines and would be developed with the existing leases at that mine or mines.

A formal public hearing will be held at 7 pm on April 11, 2006, at the Clarion Hotel and Convention Center 2009 South Douglas Highway, Gillette, Wyoming. The purpose of the public hearing is to receive comments and resource information, and identify issues or concerns to be considered in the exchange process.

BLM anticipates that the Department of the Interior will publish a Notice of Availability and Notice of Public Hearing for the EA in the Federal Register on March 22, 2006. Public comments on the Draft EA will be accepted for 30 days commencing on the publication date of that Federal Register notice. Issues and concerns can be presented at the public hearing or mailed to the BLM Casper Field Office, Attn: Steven Wright, 2987 Prospector Drive, Casper, Wyoming 82604. Comments can also be submitted by email to casper_wymail@blm.gov. Copies of the draft EA are available online at www.wy.blm.gov/nepa/nepadocs.htm. For more information contact Steven Wright at 307-261-7731.

-BLM-