Catalyst staff led this NEPA review, evaluating the potential effects of approving coal mining at the San Juan Mine for an additional 10-15 years, following a judicial remand of a 2008 Environmental Assessment. Although there was no decision or action at the adjacent generating station, the Indirect effects of coal combustion at the San Juan Generating Station were fully analyzed In the EIS (including the effects of emissions on air quality and climate change and potential effects from deposition of emissions on water quality and sensitive species). Although both the San Juan Mine and San Juan Generating Station are located on private and federal lands, because the lands are adjacent to tribal trust lands of the Navajo Nation, environmental justice was a primary Issue of concern.
The project was led by the Office of Surface Mining, Enforcement and Reclamation and Involved 6 cooperating agencies also participating in the NEPA process (BLM Farmington Field Office, New Mexico MMD, USEPA), and USFWS).
The Draft EIS for this project was the first NEPA document to meet the Secretary of Interior's revised guidelines for NEPA projects and was the first 150-page EIS published under these guidelines.
The Biological Assessment included an analysis of more than 30 species, as well as cutting edge analysis of population viability, air deposition modeling, and habitat value to determine the likely long-term impacts to populations of endangered Colorado Pikeminnow and Razorback Sucker in the San Juan River.
Public outreach for the project was extensive and Included five scoping meetings and five public meetings across four states and Navajo and Ute Mountain Ute tribal lands. Catalyst staff responded to over 5,000 unique comments from public comment letters. The Final EIS, Record of Decision, Section 7 and Section 106 consultation processes, and Mine Plan Decision Document were completed in two years, two months ahead of a judicially-mandated deadline.
NEPA, Regulatory Consultation and Compliance, Public Outreach