West Elk Mine

Chad Reich

  • CDPHE ends mask mandate for students
  • Lawmakers expanded access to reproductive health care
  • Center for Mental Health employee arrested, accused of bilking clients
  • Ute Water Conservancy District pulling drinking water from Colorado River
  • Fox in Montrose, Sherbino in Ridgway among local venues still awaiting federal grant dollars
  • Kate Redmond discusses COVID outbreak at West Elk Mine with data analyst Terry O'Brien

  

Courtesy of Eric Abramson

  • 20 positive COVID tests at West Elk Mine 
  • Telluride Foundation close to securing land for affordable housing in Norwood
  • Ouray plans to allow RVs on private property for workforce housing
  • Central High Warriors in Grand Junction dropping indigenous mascot
  • Storage facilities see unprecedented demand
  • Precedence hosts benefit July 1 for flooded Yurtstead Farms in Montrose
  • New study refutes argument that red flag gun laws are unconstitutional
  • Grace Barrett of Planet Bluegrass reflects on Spring Grass & Telluride Bluegrass

Stephen Pribut / Wikimedia Commons

  • Historic bank building in Ridgway gutted by fire
  • Southwest Airlines now flying from Montrose to Denver, Dallas
  • Montrose green waste program suspended due to contaminated loads
  • West Elk Mine facing new fines
  • CSU research project brings 10 bison to preserve in Bent County
  • Local drug case thrown out due to illegal police search
  • Governor praises Congress for COVID relief package
  • Jodi Peterson reports on more efficient irrigation methods 

Chad Reich

Chad Reich is back on KVNF for this week's Local Motion to go deeper into the story of 'The North Fork Exception.' Mountain Coal Company wants to expand into lands on The Gunnison National Forest's roadless areas and environmental groups want to stop them. The story involves ongoing battles in the courts over roads and drilling pads. The mine hasn't responded to emails or phone calls since July so they couldn't be included in the story. Instead, Chad shares the voices of coal advocates, conservation groups, and government officials.

  

Chad Reich

This past June, the West Elk Mine punched a mile of road and two drilling pads for methane venting into lands that conservation groups say should be roadless, according to federal policy. Mine operators, however, say their leases for a planned and approved expansion sit underneath the surface of the roadless lands and are not subject to the state's roadless rule. Chad Reich reports on the struggle taking place in the Gunnison National Forest. 

Chad Reich

  • Current COVID statistics across our listening area include 89 deaths
  • Governor Polis signed 8 special session bills on Monday
  • Who is dying in jails around our region and why?
  • Chad Reich reports on roadless rule battle at West Elk Mine in Gunnison National Forest

Scott Franz

  • Now 15 human cases of West Nile in Delta County
  • Montrose Lighthouse looking for new location to avoid reduced shelter capacity due to COVID
  • Arch Resources looking to sell West Elk Mine in North Fork Valley, the largest coal producer in Colorado
  • Legal fate of 2020 Census count deadline still uncertain
  • Scott Franz explains the most complicated statewide ballot question, Amendment B, which would change the Gallagher amendment in Colorado

  • Honda settles defective airbag suit with Colorado for $1.6M
  • Ouray County offering free COVID testing Aug. 31 & Sep. 1, giving up on mask compliance
  • No charges filed against officers who shot David Martin 17 times in Fruita
  • State says West Elk Mine may have violated the law
  • House Republican sues Gov. Polis over mask mandate
  • Airline industry may not recover for several years
  • KDNK's Kathleen Shannon learns about pandemic EBT from Hunger Free Colorado

  • Coal industry hopes to expand West Elk Mine in Somerset
  • Methane collection in the North Fork a big issue
  • EPA under President Trump seeks to rollback regulations on coal
  • First industrial hemp business in Paonia approved by town council

West Elk Mine
WildEarth Guardians

The last fully operational coal mine in the western part of the state announced layoffs Thursday.

The West Elk Mine outside of Paonia is owned by Arch Coal. The company filed for bankruptcy in January and says it’s letting go of 80 workers.

coal
Flickr user: oatsy40

Arch Coal announced it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday. The company operates the West Elk Mine outside of Paonia and is the second largest coal company in the U.S.   

North Fork Coal Mining Up For Review, Again

Dec 9, 2015

Representatives from federal agencies were in Paonia earlier this week.  They held an open house to discuss the Roadless Rule, a defining policy that prevents development in wilderness across the state, except certain areas.  Areas like the North Fork.

Coal
NPS

Arch Coal and the Forest Service will not be appealing a decision that revokes the company's expansion lease, as well as vacating an exception in the Colorado Roadless­ Rule that allows for expanded mining in the North Fork. 

Judge Revokes Arch Coal Lease

Sep 16, 2014
Coal
NPS

A District Court Judge revoked a lease expansion granted to Arch Coal in 2012.  

Coal
NPS

An expansion at the West Elk Mine has been halted by U.S. District Court Judge R. Brooke Jackson.

KVNF File Photo

It’s been a rough season for the coal mines of the North Fork Valley. Last week, Oxbow’s Elk Creek Mine in Somerset laid off another 115 workers, bringing the total number of jobs cut at that mine this fall to over 250.

Headlines:

  • State lawmakers begin budget debate
  • BLM grants West Elk lease modifications to expand
  • Autopsy released following gunfight in Crawford
  • Lund vs. Marston for District 3 DMEA board position
  • Hunters boycotting Colorado due to new gun laws
  • Local prep sports report

Headlines:

  • Work halted at Oxbow's Elk Creek Mine due to high levels of Carbon Monoxide
  • No ruling yet on Pinon Ridge Uranium Mill in Montrose County
  • Avalanche Fatality in high country near Marble
  • Commissioners set hunting regulations for 2013 season
  • Arvada Pastor court ordered to change name of program

The West Elk Mine near Somerset has been given a temporary reduction in the royalties it pays to the state and federal governments. KVNF’s Ariana Brocious reports that the reduction is because the mine has encountered some tricky geological conditions.