The community of Craig is holding its collective breath today, waiting on the feds to decide by midnight whether they will bother to challenge a court decision that threatens to shutter the Colowyo Mine.
The Interior Department has gobbled up the entire period allotted to them to decide whether to appeal. We can only hope they have used this time wisely to decide in favor of the 200 plus workers whose jobs are on the line.
And the lines in the proverbial sands have been clearly drawn. On one side is the radical environmental group WildEarth Guardians, who brought the questionable case with complaints that not enough public comment was considered when the mining plan was approved nearly a decade ago. That’s the same group the Denver Post aptly nailed in an editorial, for claiming to just want an honest conversation about the future of mining. And by future, the envirowhacktivists mean coal should have none.
Siding with WildEarth Guardians is Judge R. Brooke Jackson, friend to U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet and former Sen. Mark Udall, who was appointed to his post by President Obama. Bennet has been mostly silent on the issue, instead pawning the problem off on a staffer to set a meeting with the powers-that-be in Washington and a Moffat County commissioner. Too bad none of those meetings were actually with the Interior Department.
Also, there’s the New Belgium Brewery, a past financial supporter of WildEarth Guardians. The brewery is on the fence now, reconsidering their support after nearly the entire town of Craig kicked their kegs of beer to the curb in a boycott.
On the other side of the battle we have everyone else – the miners, their families, the workers at the electrical power plant that the coal fuels, their families, the businesses in town supported by these industries and their elected representatives.
In essence, it’s society versus a privileged few.
If the Interior Department refuses to challenge the court order and fight their original approval of the mine, it sends a dangerous message to radical environmentalists – go ahead and bankrupt taxpayers by challenging every government approval of energy development across the land. We won’t lift a finger to stop you.
Where was Bennet when Coloradans needed him?