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Front Page » October 25, 2005 » Local News » College in Price secures title to Horse Canyon mining pro...
Published 3,199 days ago

College in Price secures title to Horse Canyon mining property


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By LES BOWEN
Sun Advocate reporter


Mary Ann Wright, Assistant DOGM director

College of Eastern Utah has acquired title to 896 acres at at the site of the former Horse Canyon coal mine.

The transfer comes after an exhaustive review by the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining.

With county, local, state, college and mining representatives present, UtahAmerican Energy Inc., a subsidiary of Murray Energy Corporation, presented the facility to CEU at a luncheon last Thursday.

Of the 1707.38 acres at the site, the mining corporation will retain 811.25 acres.

The property donated to the college has been reclaimed other than approximately 17 acres.

The 17 acres house a variety of structures and facilities which include a sedimentation pond, a pump house, an office building, a bath house, a warehouse and a shop.

Other improvements at the former coal mining site include building pads, a parking lot, a powder magazine, a cap magazine, a water tank and a portal pad.

In addition, the property includes the transfer of diversionary water rights totaling .08 cubic feet per second from Horse Canyon Creek and 5.0 acre-feet of storage from Redden Spring.

The process of reviewing the land before the transfer and the change in post mining use was only possible after a strict review process, explained Mary Ann Wright, associate director of DOGM.

Wright explained that part of the review pertained to the change in post-mining use for 16 acres.

Under normal circumstances, the mining corporation would be required to level the buildings that the company donated to the college in Price and reclaim the land.

That process required a complete narrative on each building or facility included in the transfer to the college.

Further, the mining company was required to explain why the changed post-mining use would be a higher and better use than restoring the land to its original state.

That proposed change and the release of the land from the requirements of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 was approved after an exhaustive one-year review process, Wright indicated.

"This is one of the most significant gifts that has come to the College of Eastern Utah," said Brad King, a vice president at the college and member of the state legislature.

The college expects to use the Horse Canyon property for recreation, as a base camp for environmental studies, as a collection site for Range Creek archaeological artifacts and as an outdoor classroom for paleontology, geology, archaeology, biology, art and creative writing.

Robert Murray, Murray Energy Corporation

Robert Murray, the chairperson, president and chief executive officer of Murray Energy Corporation, also addressed the status of the proposed Lila Canyon Mine, on property which adjoins that area donated to the college.

"This proposed state-of-the-art project will be environmentally one of the best projects undertaken in the West. My family and I want to leave a balanced legacy of economic and environmentally acceptable development."

Murray explained that 55 percent of the generation of electricity is dedicated to the purchase of fuel for power plants.

He continued that the cost of natural gas is seven times that of coal. As a result, the cost of coal-generated electricity is one-seventh of the cost of poser generated by natural gas.

The proposed mine is estimated to create 300 high-paying jobs, said Murray.

The energy corporation official added that studies suggest that for each job created at a mining facility, up to 11 secondary jobs are created.

While plans to mine in Lila Canyon are at least five years old, the plans have been opposed by the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.

Murray indicated that SUWA's claims have been previously addressed and the lobbying organization continues to repeated opposition to the opening of the mine without new claims.

The energy corporation executive pointed out that Lila Canyon is in a historic coal production area where Kaiser Steel and the United States Steel Corporation have pre-existing mining rights.

Further, the energy corporation representative pointed out that the area in question is not a roadless or wilderness area.

"They simply want to stop all economic development in Utah," said Murray.

He continued by stating that SUWA is headed by a European industrialist, the 26th richest man in Europe, and that the officers who direct SUWA are "absentee multimillionaires." Murray pointed out that in its efforts against the mining developments at Lila Canyon, SUWA is stopping 3,600 jobs from coming into Carbon and Emery counties.

Further, Murray listed the principal donors to SUWA and noted that many of the foundations from which SUWA receives support received their principal endowments from energy industrialists.

"If the founders of these foundations knew how their money was being used, they'd roll over in their graves," said Murray.


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