The Montana Department of Environmental Quality opened a 30-day public comment period Tuesday for a proposed major revision at Spring Creek Coal Mine in southeast Montana. The revision could allow about 72 million tons of coal to be mined.
DEQ released a draft environmental impact statement Tuesday for a proposed revision that would add nearly 980 acres for mining and infrastructure projects at the Spring Creek Mine. The addition would occur within the mine’s existing permit boundary on Bureau of Land Management land.
The revision would also extend the life of the mine from 2027 to 2031 and require more post-mine remediation measures for wildlife habitat. The mining company has agreed to provide $107,000 in compensatory mitigation to go to the Montana sage grouse program for future projects.
A DEQ spokesperson says the department received the revision application for Spring Creek in 2013 from Cloud Peak Energy, the nation’s third largest coal company by production volume. It filed for bankruptcy in May. Navajo Transitional Energy Company recently received court approval to purchase the mine near Decker, along with two others in Wyoming.
DEQ will host an open house the evening of Wednesday, Sept. 11, at the Big Horn County Extension Office in Hardin. DEQ will accept public comments through September 26. Public comment can be mailed to DEQ or submitted electronically online. All comments must be received by 5 p.m., September 26.