U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton

U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton

It’s been months since federal officials said that continuing operations at the Trapper Mine in Craig would cause no significant impacts, but the Interior Department is dragging its feet on making a final decision.

The review was part of the objection that environmentalists filed agains coal mining operations in order to “keep it in the ground,” which failed when they targeted Colowyo, and appeared to fail with Trapper.

U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton and Sen. Cory Gardner are getting tired of tapping their fingers waiting for Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to finalize the matter, and issue the required environmental assessment paperwork.

They wrote her a polite letter this week, asking that she get the lead out and not keep miners waiting unnecessarily to learn about their future.

The Trapper Mine specifically provides about 50 percent of the total fuel for the Craig Power Generating Station, which is a critical regional electric generation unit.  Both the mine and the power station are crucial to Northwest Colorado’s economic viability, as they are two of the region’s largest employers and contributors of revenues to state and local coffers.

If the feds don’t complete the review by the end of this month, then the mine faces certain closure, nearly 200 jobs will be lost along with $22 million in annual wages and benefits and the feds will lose out on their cut, $10 million a year.

It’s time to pony up, Washington. Sign off on the final paperwork and let these folks know their jobs are safe.