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Huge Utah coal tract up for lease

EMERY, Emery County — Nearly 56 million tons of recoverable coal northwest of the SUFCO Mine is once again on the bidding table after a federal appeals board rejected a legal challenge brought by environmental groups.

The Greens Hollow tract near Emery is on federal lands managed by the Manti-La Sal and Fishlake national forests in the Wasatch Plateau in Sanpete and Sevier counties.

The 6,175-acre tract is adjacent to the SUFCO Mine, which is operated by Canyon Fuels, a subsidiary of Bowie Resource Partners.

Although the Obama administration announced a three-year moratorium on any new coal leases in early 2016, the Greens Hollow tract was deemed exempt because it had already gone through the environmental review process.

The lease-sale was originally scheduled for September, but it was delayed after an appeal lodged by the Center for Biological Diversity, WildEarth Guardians, Grand Canyon Trust and the Sierra Club.

In October, the Interior Board of Land Appeals ruled that the groups had failed to prove the likelihood of immediate or irreparable harm.

The Bureau of Land Management has scheduled the lease-sale for January and is accepting sealed bids on the tract.