Colowyo Mine project approved by the U.S. Department of the Interior

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Federal officials have approved a mining plan for operations to continue at Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association’s Colowyo Mine in northwest Colorado. The approved mining plan preserves more than 200 mining jobs while safeguarding the environment and greater sage-grouse habitat.

After a thorough public comment process and extensive environmental review, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management approved the recommendation from the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement to permit mining of the Collom development at Colowyo Mine.

The approval allows continued mining operations that provide a stable fuel supply for electricity generation, 220 mining jobs, a $200 million impact to the regional economy and $12 million in local, state and federal tax revenue.

“This decision is important to the future of our member electric cooperatives and the people we serve,” said Mike McInnes, chief executive officer of Tri-State. “Our member electric cooperatives will continue to access a reliable fuel supply and the economic benefits from mining operations will be sustained for northwest Colorado communities.”

“As part of the project, we are bolstering efforts to protect the greater sage-grouse and other wildlife in the area,” McInnes added.  The approved mining plan includes significant protections for wildlife. Tri-State donated 4,543 acres of high priority sagebrush habitat to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, which will manage the land for the benefit of greater sage-grouse. Tri-State also donated $150,000 to the state agency for continued sage-grouse research. 

Throughout the mine plan review, Colowyo Mine received significant support from the local community and from elected officials across Colorado.

“Tri-State is thankful for the strong bipartisan support the project received from the community and elected officials at all levels,” said McInnes. “We are also grateful for the hard work of state and federal officials that did a complete and thorough job in their assessments of the project.”

Colowyo Coal Company L.P., a Tri-State subsidiary, operates Colowyo Mine.

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