Forest Service to study proposed coal ming project in Ouachita National Forest


The USDA Forest Service announced this week plans to develop an Environmental Impact State for a proposed coal mining project just across the Oklahoma line in the Ouachita National Forest.

The Heavener Coal Leasing Project is the effort of Emera Corporation, on behalf of Ouro Mining Inc. The firm proposes to recover metallurgical coal on 3,077 acres on the national forest in Scott and Sebastian counties in Arkansas. The kind of coal is a grade used to produce coke whicch is used in steelmaking.

A report by Pulse Multi-Media indicated the Heavener Coal lLeasing project is a response to a federal coal lease application filed by the company. Under federal law, the Bureau of Land Management is the responsible agency for leasing access to coal on federal lands.

As part of the project, the Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative also filed an application to construct about three miles of electric power line and nearly two miles of access road on the national forest. The project is meant to provide electricity to the coal lease site.

The decision from this Environmental Impact Statement would ultimately determine whether a metallurgical coal lease will be conveyed. The decision would not authorize any mining development activity. The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement would review the analysis and decisions made by the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management and conduct a separate analysis that considers approval of mining activity.

The Notice of Intent initiates scoping for the Environmental Impact Statement under the National Environmental Policy Act, provides information about the project, and invites participation in the impact statement process. Comments will be accepted for 30 days.

For more information on this Notice of Intent or the project, visit the project website at