Barr completed an environmental assessment on 120 acres of land for Bronco Utah Operations’ Emery Mine expansion in Emery County, Utah. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has authority to issue rights-of-way and initiate National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) actions under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976.
The first phase of the expansion involved obtaining federal NEPA approvals as well as a state mining permit from the Utah Division of Oil, Gas, and Mining (DOGM) for a right-of-way through a BLM coal body to access state and private coal reserves.
Barr worked closely with the BLM field and state offices to coordinate initial public involvement and scoping for the NEPA environmental assessment (EA). Ultimately, several resources were identified and assessed, including air quality, cultural resources, endangered species, fish habitat, soils, vegetation, geology, water quality, wildlife, and rangeland and grazing. We organized and facilitated the BLM’s inter-disciplinary review and completed the draft EA for publication in December 2018.
In the project’s second phase, Barr led the team conducting the EA for the 3,114-acre “leased by application” BLM surface land and coal to extend the mine’s life by 20 years. Our team completed all baseline studies and compiled a draft EA that underwent several reviews by the BLM.
Before posting the EA for public notice, however, the BLM discontinued its review because the federal land tract involved was slated to be transferred to state of Utah’s School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) via the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act of 2019. Barr is currently holding meetings with SITLA and DOGM to compile a permit amendment to begin mining on the tract after the transfer is approved in 2024.
During the course of the project, Barr has worked with eight county, state, and federal agencies. We continue to provide numerous other forms of support for Bronco’s current operations at the Emery and Hidden Valley mines., including preparing and submitting compliance reports to most state agencies and all applications for environmental permits.