Federal officials OK Utah coal lease sale

Published on March 16, 2017 at 11:06AM

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Federal officials have given the go-ahead for the sale of a big coal lease in central Utah, despite concern from conservation groups who say the move will hurt the environment. The U.S. Interior Department announced on Wednesday that they had finalized a $22 million Greens Hollow coal lease, which was awarded to the owner of Sufco mine. Last year, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management postponed the sale after conservation groups filed an appeal aimed at protecting sage grouse habitat. The Greens Hollow lease covers more than 9 square miles of the Manti-La Sal and Fishlake national forests in Sanpete and Sevier counties. The BLM estimates the land contains more than 55 million tons of recoverable coal. The Interior Department imposed a moratorium on new coal sales last year. This lease was exempt because it was sold in January.