Interior Sec. Sally Jewell needs to visit Craig

Interior Sec. Sally Jewell needs to visit Craig

DENVER—Following the denial of an appeal of the Colowyo mine case, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell will visit Colorado on Friday to deliver remarks to the Aspen Institute.

“Secretary Jewell needs to take the time to meet with the people in Craig who will be hurt by the May 8 ruling against the Colowyo mine and the families who depend on it. It’s the least she can do,” said Executive Director Jonathan Lockwood, of Advancing Colorado, a free market advocacy group. “If the Craig mine is shut down, we will see an entire community crippled, other communities negatively impacted, and we will see out-of-state special interest groups win in their efforts to wield environmental policy as a weapon against the development and production of safe, inexpensive energy.”

The Aspen institute is near Craig, where residents are worried over the threat of the job-producing coal mine shutting down as a result of U.S. District Court Judge R. Brooke Jackson’s ruling against the Colowyo coal mine. The mining operation provides 220 jobs.

The May 8 ruling in favor of WildEarth Guardians, the Santa Fe-based anti-coal group, has sparked outrage across the state, and hundreds of companies have dropped their support of the radical group.

The attack on Craig has solidified a bipartisan coalition and Gov. John Hickenlooper, Sens. Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner, and Rep. Scott Tipton have urged Jewell to visit Craig and meet with members of the community to learn about the mine’s importance to the Colorado economy.

“Energy policy needs to be about safe practices and it needs to allow for the market to drive production and use, not put government in the driver’s seat where it picks up cronies or runs over the people,” added Lockwood. “This ruling, and Jewell’s rejection of the appeal, is an example of the federal government running us over and hurting our families.”

The Colowyo mine also provides electricity to neighboring states, which has caused other states’ senators to join Colorado lawmakers in asking the Department of Interior to help keep the Colowyo Mine open. The mine provides coal to Tri-State power, which also supplies electricity to western Nebraska.