The bankrupt owners of a coal mine in central Colorado want the state to drop a lawsuit against them in exchange for cash and equipment.
But there's a catch.
Mine owners want to subdivide 6,000 acres to generate some of the
money for the mine's reclamation.
Resources' latest plan to pay off its debts for its Coal Basin Mine
near Redstone, Colo., calls for divvying up and selling 6,000 acres
in and around the coal mine site.
"mountain recreational" tracts could bring $2 million, says
attorney James Holden, and some of this money would be made
available over time for reclamation. In exchange, miners want the
state to drop its $3 million lawsuit against several company
officers (HCN, 10/4/93).
The plan disturbs local
environmentalists, who have been battling the company and the state
over the reclamation.
"Must the price of the
coal mine clean-up be a large, spread-out and unplanned backcountry
development?" asks Redstone resident Bill Jochems in a Feb. 4
letter to Pitkin County Commissioners. Under Colorado law, tracts
of land 35 acres or more are exempt from county
Jochems, president of the Crystal Valley
Environmental Protection Association, says the prospect of new
roads below and within the property, much of which sits at
elevations near 10,000 feet, concerns him the
Colorado officials say they also dislike
the new liquidation plan. "We really hate it," says Steve Renner of
the state Division of Minerals and Geology. "We want cash up
In late February the Colorado Mined Land
Reclamation Board agreed and rejected the company's plan. The issue
now goes to U.S. Bankruptcy Court for a vote by Mid-Continent