Hayden Station asking Seneca Mine to provide it with Twentymile coal

— Seneca Coal Company provides coal to the Hayden Station, but the power plant plans to test Twentymile coal on a temporary basis this summer.

Seneca Coal is requesting the county's permission to haul 50,000 tons of coal on County Road 27 from Twentymile for a test burn at the Hayden Station over a two-month period.

Seneca Coal and the Hayden Station recently renegotiated their coal supply contract, allowing the mine to purchase coal from outside sources, according to Michael Altavilla, engineering manager at Seneca Coal Company.

"This new contract provides us with new options on coal deliveries to the power plant that we never had before," Altavilla said.

Seneca mines about 1.5 million to 1.8 million tons of coal a year, all of which goes to the Hayden Station.

Seneca buying coal from Twentymile, a competitor, is not common in the industry, but is being considered for economic reasons, Altavilla said. Seneca is not running out of coal, he added.

"We still have 15 million tons of surface reserves and an unlimited quantity of underground reserves," Altavilla said.

The distance from the Twentymile mine loading facility to the Hayden Station is approximately 13.5 miles. Three tractor-trailer trucks would make a total of 30 round trips each day from 6 p.m. until 8 a.m.

County Planner John Eastman said he discussed the haul route with the county's Road and Bridge Director, Paul Draper, who said he didn't have any concerns with the request due to the temporary nature of the haul.

If the test burn is successful and more substantial shipments of coal are needed, Seneca will consider two transportation alternatives: rail or truck.

Rail transport would require an amendment to Seneca's county permit in order to improve existing rail loading facilities.

Truck transport would also require a new or amended permit. In addition, Seneca would be required to maintain any county roads it used. Twentymile, for example, is putting $1.7 million into improvements on the portions of C.R. 27 that it uses.

Planning commissioners will review Seneca's request for a special use permit to haul coal on C.R. 27 from Twentymile to the Hayden power plant on Thursday.

Also on the agenda is a request by Frank Camilletti to allow him to transfer and store timber from the Routt Divide Blowdown near his gravel pit in Milner.

Eastman said Camilletti has allowed the Forest Service to store logs cut from the Blowdown on his property since August, but didn't apply for a permit because he thought it was a use by right in the agriculture and forestry zone district.

The county told Camilletti he would have to remove the timber or apply for a permit.

Eastman said the logs are hauled in over the summer and then hauled out to Dotsero or Silt during the winter and spring when accessing the Forest Service property is more difficult.

Camilletti's proposal means a total of 800 one-way truck trips each year, Eastman said.

With Camilletti gravel pit sales of 60,000 tons a year, the truck traffic generated by the combination of uses may pass the Colorado Department of Transportation's threshold for acceleration and deceleration lanes, Eastman said. That means Camilletti will probably have to obtain a revised CDOT access permit for the increased use.

The county is also concerned about bark beetles from the downed timber flying to standing trees around Milner. Camilletti told the county he sprayed 19 trees in a one-mile radius to prevent that.

To reach Michelle Bales call 871-4208 or e-mail mbales@amigo.net

Community comments

Note: The Steamboat Pilot & Today doesn’t necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy.

Post a comment (Requires free registration)

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.