Methane capture a condition of support

BOCC wants measure to be mandatory for new lease

By Alan Wartes

For nearly 10 years, the question of whether the West Elk Coal Mine near Somerset in northern Gunnison County will be allowed to expand its operations onto 1,722 acres within the Somerset Roadless Area has resembled a high stakes chess match — with steps forward and back on both sides.

After lengthy debate Tuesday, Gunnison County Commissioners decided to pursue a quid pro quo approach to the question, attempting to tie U.S. Forest Service approval of the lease expansion to methane capture and utilization at the mine.

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