Halt Coal Companies’ Pillage of Public Lands

roadless area

Target: Brian Ferebee, Deputy Regional Forester, Rocky Mountain Region

Goal: Reject a rule exemption that would open up thousands of acres of publicly-owned forests for coal mining

“To sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations” is the mission of the United States Forest Service (USFS). Guided by this noble philosophy, millions of acres of Colorado’s national forests have been protected by what’s known as the Colorado Roadless Rule. Coal companies eager to ravage these public lands have fought for access. Sadly, the very agency tasked with protecting and preserving these forests has given the coal industry exactly what it wants.

According to a USFS memo roughly 19,000 acres in the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests have been dubbed the North Fork Coal Mining Area and will be opened up for “temporary road construction for coal related activities.” An earlier appeal by Arch Coal was rejected by the District Court because the company’s environmental impact statement ignored the harm caused by mining and coal burning. Under the newly approved exemption millions of tons of coal could be pulled from the pristine, roadless forests, significantly contributing to climate change.

Taylor McKinnon with the Center for Biological Diversity harshly criticized the move. “This plan shows the dangerous disconnect between Obama’s climate rhetoric and his plans to open more public land to the fossil fuel industry,” said McKinnon. “This coal can’t be burned if we’re going to keep our planet livable.”

Allowing coal mining in this wild area is irresponsible, shortsighted, and directly contradicts the USFS mission. Demand that the agency reject exemptions to the Colorado Roadless Rule that would allow coal activities on these precious public lands.


Dear Mr. Ferebee,

Arch Coal and others have lobbied aggressively for access to public lands like the Sunset Roadless Area, prized by recreationalists for its beauty and remoteness. The exemption granted to the Colorado Roadless Rule would allow energy companies to build roads and mine millions of tons of coal from the the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests. Not only would this damage the health and diversity of the forests, for present and future generations, but it would significantly contribute to climate change.

This is a step in precisely the wrong direction. America’s national forests are among the country’s greatest treasures. Their sustained health should never be sacrificed just to help companies like Arch Coal make a quick buck. I must insist that the USFS reject the North Fork Coal Mining Area exemption to the Colorado Roadless Rule.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Nelson Guda via Earthjustice

Sign the Petition

  • Only your name will be displayed. By signing, you accept our terms and may receive updates on this and related causes.
FacebookCare2 NewsTwitterEmailShare


  1. There is not one agency in America that hasn’t sold us out! Everyone of them have to be fired and replaced by someone who will do their JOB! And Obama is turning his back on everything he’s said he believes in concerning climate change! Opening the whole East coast that has hurricanes every year and allowing drilling in the most dangerous Arctic Ocean is a guarantee there will be a spill that Shell can not contain! Seems to me that he’s filling his pockets before leaving office with a little extra cash! And God forbid that a republican gets elected in 2016, it wouldn’t take long for them to completely destroy our whole country! That party is owned lock stock and barrel by big oil and the Koch suckers! Wake up America, this is the planet we’re leaving for our grandchildren, I’m already ashamed of the mess we have now. And if the GOP gets anymore control we are doomed!

  2. Alexander Yeung says:

    This is have gone too far. GOP only care nothing but their money and making profit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Facebook Comments


2971 Signatures

  • Yaedi Ignatow
  • Gertie Hunt
  • joan walker
  • sheila childs
  • Jill Ballard
  • Holly Hall
  • Katie Richards
  • Alice Rim
  • Julia Amsler
1 of 297123...297
Skip to toolbar