Nevada Power Co. may abandon its controversial plan to strip-mine coal near Bryce Canyon National Park and swap its leases for land in central Utah, a company official says.

The Nevada utility is considering trading its federal coal leases in the Alton coal field near Bryce Canyon for coal leases adjacent to a recently acquired mine in Emery County, said Charlie Vaughn, vice president for generation.He said the trade would allow Nevada Power to expand production at its new Emery County mine. It also would leave the Alton coal land unleased and without a developer.

Vaughn said the proposed trade would be presented to Nevada Power's senior management on Tuesday. If it approves, the company will seek congressional support for the coal-lease swap.

"The trade is one of the alternatives we have. We're just investigating it. We have not decided to get out of Alton," Vaughn said.

He said winning congressional support for the coal-lease trade may be difficult. "That's one reason management may balk at it . . . ," he said.

Vaughn said Nevada Electric Investment Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of Nevada Power Co., purchased the Genwall Coal Co. on Dec. 23. Genwall operates a mine in Crandall Canyon - a tributary of Huntington Canyon. The purchase price was not disclosed.

Genwall is a relatively small operation, employing 41 people and producing slightly less than 200,000 tons of coal in 1988, Vaughn said. The company will maintain the Genwall name and continue to produce coal at the current level.

Coal produced by from the mine will be sold on the commercial market. There were no immediate plans for Nevada Power to purchase the Genwall coal for use in its coal-fired electric generating plants, he said. Nevada Power has been the driving force behind plans to strip-mine coal in the Alton field southwest of Bryce Canyon in Kane County. The company wants to transport this coal through a 183-mile-long slurry pipeline to the proposed 1,000-megawatt Harry Allen Power Project north of Las Vegas.