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Judge Orders U.S. Officials To Weigh Coal Mine's Climate Costs

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A judge says U.S. officials downplayed climate change impacts and other environmental costs from the expansion of a massive coal mine near the Montana-Wyoming border.

Shiloh Hernandez is an attorney with the Western Environmental Law Center, one of the advocacy groups that sued over the expansion.

He says the judge’s decision helps keep the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement transparent.

“It cements the obligation of federal agencies to really be forthcoming about the true extent of fossil fuel harm on the public prior to making any decisions like this,” Hernandez says.

U.S. District Judge Susan Watters said in a ruling Wednesday that under former President Donald Trump, officials played up the economic benefits of the Spring Creek Mine expansion, but failed to consider the society-wide impacts of climate change.

Spring Creek is Montana's largest coal mine. A representative of Navajo Transitional Energy Company, which owns the mine, said federal officials already met their obligations to review the project. The U.S. Office of Surface Mining was not commenting on the case.

Kayla writes about energy policy, the oil and gas industry and new electricity developments.
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