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Nov 9, 2012 9:13 AM by Garrett Boyd

Feds stand by decision on West Elk mine expansion

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) - The U.S. Forest Service has rejected an appeal of its decision to let Arch Coal Inc. expand the West Elk Mine in Somerset.

The company plans to build temporary roads and drilling pads for methane vents in 1,700 acres of the Sunset Roadless Area to accommodate the expansion. Conservation groups represented by Earthjustice had argued that the activity would turn the area into an industrial zone.

The Daily Sentinel reports the Forest Service is sticking by its decision in August allowing the mine to expand.

Colorado's federally approved rule for managing roadless areas in national forests generally limits development but has limited exceptions, including ones for coal mining activity.

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