A hearing before a House Interior subcommittee on the proposed Alton coal lease exchange has been tentatively set for February 1990, according to a spokesman for Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah.
The exchange would allow the Nevada Electric Investment Co. to trade undeveloped leases it holds near Bryce Canyon National Park for leases in east-central Utah.Company officials are considering strip mining on the Alton coal field parcel, within the sight of the southern Utah national park.
But the proposed exchange would give the company leases in Emery County, an area which already has extensive coal mining operations, the spokesman said.
"I cannot support surface coal mining near Bryce," said Owens. "But working the leases in Emery County would not represent a threat to the environment and would boost the local economy."
Owens said Rep. Nick Rahal, chairman of Interior's mining and natural resources subcommittee, believed hearings on the coal lease swap could be scheduled in about two months.