Coal Mines Threaten Mule Deer

from Wildlife Promise

UPDATE on 7/30:  BLM accepted a bid for $0.36/ton for the Spruce Stomp coal mine. Its worth noting that the coal company, Bowie Resources, can plan to turn around and sell this coal for $36.50 per ton.

Mule Deer populations have been declining in recent years across Colorado. And extracting coal across the western ranges where mule deer make their home could push some declining populations over the edge. Besides loss of vital habitat as the land is gutted to reach coal deposits, the ingestion of toxins from mining operations and disruption of migration routes threaten the survival of even far-ranging herds.

Mule Deer

Mule deer graze near an open-pit coal mine. Photo by Micheal O’Leary.

To make matters even worse, the coal from these proposed mines would be exported and burned in overseas coal plants. After the coal is burned overseas, the toxic mercury pollution from burning coal rides the jet-stream across the Pacific and falls down on to northwest waterways with the rain—poisoning our wildlife.

Who Can Stop It?

Spruce Stomp Mine Credit: Wild Earth Gaurdian

Map of Spruce Stomp Mine. Credit: Wild Earth Guardians

Incredibly, on Wednesday, July 30, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management is scheduled to sell access to mine 9 million tons of coal in the Rockies of Colorado – which would destroy almost 2,000 acres of mule deer habitat on the western slope.

Coal companies are hoping to continue business as usual, destroying our public land and profiting off of the dirtiest carbon pollution fuel on our planet, by finding new customers for their fossil fuel.  Coal exports from U.S. have increased to record levels, with 126 million tons shipped in 2012, more than 10% of all production, with greater increases expected in coming years. On the West Coast, we have been working to prevent over 150 million tons of coal from being shipped out of Northwest ports. Proposals for export facilities exist in Louisiana, Texas, and South Carolina as well.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has the authority to stop coal mine expansion on BLM public lands in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and Utah that also provide vital habitat for mule deer. They need to hear from you before they approve more coal mining leases!

Please urge the Bureau of Land Management to stop all new coal mine leases until the Federal Coal Leasing Program has been reformed to better protect wildlife and account for the impacts of climate change.

Take ActionUrge the Bureau of Land Management to stop all new coal mine leases and reform the Federal Coal Leasing Program to protect mule deer.