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Release Date: 05/14/12
Contacts: Shannon Borders, 970-240-5399    

BLM seeks comments for coal exploration license (05-14-12)

MONTROSE, Colo. – On Monday, May 14, the Bureau of Land Management released for public comment a preliminary Environmental Assessment and unsigned Finding of No Significant Impact regarding Oxbow Mining, LLC’s Federal Coal Exploration License.  The proposed Oak Mesa Project extends from the edge of the Bowie Mine holdings westward across the mesa to the Leroux Creek area, encompassing about 13,873 acres, north of Hotchkiss. 

“The Oak Mesa Project is adjacent to existing coal leases in an area of known coal reserves,” said Barb Sharrow, BLM Uncompahgre Field Office Manager. “Coal exploration drilling is needed to determine seam reserve availability for possible development of a new underground coal mine in Delta County.”

Oxbow’s application proposes to drill 43 exploration drill holes on private and federal lands into federal subsurface holdings.  The drill holes would be completed from 0.5 acre drill pads, to a depth of 220 to 2,249 feet, depending on the location of each drill hole.  Most temporary surface disturbances from road and pad construction would occur on about 33 acres.  Of the 43 proposed drill holes, 10 would require construction of a pad to create level ground for drilling (about 5 acres).  Occupation (no grading) would occur on all the remaining drill pads (about 16.5 acres). Wherever possible existing ground disturbance would be used for drilling sites and construction activities would be limited to clearing and removal of large boulders.
Exploration activities would begin with issuance of the license and would be completed within two years after authorization.  Drilling would take about two to three days per pad. 

To review the EA and FONSI, go to

Comments must be submitted by June 13, 2012, in writing to the BLM Uncompahgre Field Office, Attn: Desty Dyer, 2465 S. Townsend Ave., Montrose, CO 81401, by fax to 970-240-5368 or by email to

Please note comments and information submitted regarding this project, including email addresses and street addresses of respondents will be available for public review and disclosure.  Individual respondents may request confidentiality.  If you wish to withhold your name, e-mail address, or street address from public view or from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, you must state this prominently at the beginning of your written comment.  Such requests will be honored to the extent allowed by the law.  All submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives of officials of organizations or businesses, will be made available for public inspection in their entirety.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

  2465 South Townsend Avenue      Montrose, CO 81401  

Last updated: 05-14-2012