BLM seeks comments for proposed coal mine lease modification in southwest Colorado

BLM Office:

Tres Rios Field Office



Media Contact:

DURANGO, Colo. - The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Tres Rios Field Office is seeking public comments on a proposal to modify GCC Energy LLC’s King II federal coal mine lease, expanding the current lease by about 950 acres. 

The BLM and the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement are working jointly to review and prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the proposal while considering input from the public. Located near Hesperus, Colorado, the surface estate is privately owned and the BLM manages the subsurface mineral estate. 

“Currently, GCC’s production rate at the King II mine is about 700,000 tons per year, and at this rate there is about two years of coal available before the company runs out of reserves,” said Jennifer Maiolo, BLM Mining Engineer. “If approved, the lease modification would allow the company to continue operating.”

The BLM is responsible for balanced use of public lands and is required by law to consider leasing federal coal for economic recovery. If approved, the modification would be offered by non-competitive sale with appropriate lease stipulations to protect surface resources.

The America First Energy Plan is an all-of-the-above approach that includes coal – among other resources – that can be developed on public lands. The coal mined from the King II mine is known for its low sulfur, ash and alkali content, and is sold mostly in the southwestern U.S. and Mexico for use in manufacturing cement, local home heating and operating the railroad in Durango, Colorado.

Coal production is a valuable economic driver for the State of Colorado. The six producing coal mines on public mineral estate support close to 6,000 jobs and produce an economic output of $1.2 billion each year, contributing about $42 million in federal royalties to the State of Colorado. The King II coal mine employs 91 people with total salaries and employee benefits estimated to be about $12 million annually.

On Tuesday, June 20, the public is invited to an open house from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Breen Community Building (15300 Highway 140, Hesperus, CO) to learn about the project.

To review and comment on the assessment, contact the Little Snake Field Office or visit Public comments help identify issues that should be addressed as part of the EA for this project. Comments on the coal lease modification should be submitted by July 9, 2017 to the BLM Little Snake Field Office, Attn: Jennifer Maiolo, 455 Emerson St., Craig, CO or emailed to

Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address or other personal identifying information in your comment, be advised that your entire comment – including your personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold from public review your personal identifying information, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.