In a recent letter, Ken Rait of Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance attempts to convince us that the underground coal mine proposal in southern Utah would cause "disastrous environmental impacts." What he doesn't tell us, however, is that the federal Environmental Impact Statement will ensure that the mine complies with all federal, state and local environmental protection laws and regulations.
Rait also fails to mention that the mine will be confined within a small side canyon that cannot be seen from the surrounding countryside and where mining activity has already taken place not long ago. Nor does he mention the fact the mine would disturb less than 40 acres during its life and would be fully reclaimed to federal standards when mining is finished. Nor does he mention that underground coal mines are among the nation's most intensely regulated industries for environmental safeguards to protect air quality, water quality, wildlife, archaeological resources and other environmental issues.Under today's rigid environmental regulations, responsible economic development of underground coal resources can, in fact, coexist in balance with responsible environmental protection in southern Utah.