Washington, DC (1/19/2016) – Last Friday, The Climate Reality Project submitted more than 12,600 comments urging the United States Forest Service (USFS) to withdraw a proposed loophole in the Colorado Roadless Rule allowing Arch Coal to mine over 170 million tons of coal in Colorado’s pristine North Fork Valley. Citizens from around the country closed out the public comment period on the rule by urging the USFS to reconsider their proposal and instead protect Colorado mountain communities for generations to come.
Currently, the Colorado Roadless Rule protects 4.2 million acres of wilderness in the state from most development. The recent USFS proposal would make an exception for Arch Coal, the nation’s second-largest coal producer with a record of funding climate denial, allowing this dirty energy company to bulldoze more than 19,000 acres of public land to gain access to more than 170 million tons of coal. Using this coal could release up to 486 million tons of carbon pollution and cause up to $13 billion in damage to our global environment and economy.
“Our energy economy no longer has to be tied to the extraction of more and more fossil fuels,” said former U.S. Vice President and Chairman of The Climate Reality Project Al Gore. “We now have cost-competitive clean energy that can power our lives without making the climate crisis even worse. Electricity from solar and wind power is getting cheaper every day. That is why Climate Reality’s membership has stood up to say: stop continuing to pursue expensive and unsustainable options that wreak havoc on our lives, our climate and our future. We should be investing our time and resources instead into expanding the global clean energy economy—starting here at home.”
This most recent stance against coal comes on the heels of President Obama’s decision last week to freeze all new coal mining leases on federal land until the climate risks are incorporated into any leasing decision. While the recent moratorium on new coal leases on federal land will not directly impact the Colorado Roadless Rule decision, advocates are hopeful it signals that the Obama Administration will use this opportunity to take another stand against coal and climate pollution.
In Colorado, clean energy solutions are abundant. From wind power to solar generation—Colorado is leading the way on renewable energy. Public comments – from Climate Reality and several other environmental groups – urged the USFS to consider a healthy future supported by sustainable industries, not an environmentally detrimental business with diminishing returns.
About The Climate Reality Project
The Climate Reality Project is one of the world’s leading organizations dedicated to mobilizing action around climate change. With a global movement more than 5 million strong and a grassroots network of trained Climate Reality Leaders, we are spreading the truth and unleashing cultural momentum to solve the climate crisis. Former US Vice President and Nobel Laureate Al Gore is the Founder and Chairman of The Climate Reality Project. For more information, visit www.climaterealityproject.org or follow us on Twitter at @ClimateReality