Montana Public Radio

Westmoreland Coal Company

 

An environmental advocacy group released a report Jan. 9 arguing that the coal industry may crash and leave the public with the financial burden of the environmental cleanup of developed mining sites.

Montana Mine Expansion Advances Amid Owner's Bankruptcy

Nov 30, 2018
A federal judge in Great Falls Friday said the Trump administration failed to consider the environmental effects of its decision to resume coal sales from federal lands that the Obama administration stopped.
USDA NRCS

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A major coal mine expansion in southeastern Montana received a preliminary green light from state and federal officials on Friday even as the mine's owner remains tied up in bankruptcy proceedings with plans to sell the property.

Officials released an 800-page environmental study of Westmoreland Coal Co.'s expansion of the Rosebud Mine that clears the way for a final decision in coming months.

Colstrip coal mine.
Amy Martin

Westmoreland Coal Company, the Colorado-based owner of three coal mines in Montana, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in federal court on Tuesday.

A Westmoreland Coal Company says its 3 Montana coal mines are profitable despite its current financial crunch and the company is working to keep its mines open.

A Coal Mine in the Powder River basin.
U.S. Geological Survey

We're getting perspective now on last week's news that the U.S. Interior Department said it had approved a major coal mine expansion in Montana. It caused the stock of the mining company involved to temporarily spike.

Six days later, Interior rescinded its statement, saying no expansion was approved, and the original approval statement was the result of “internal miscommunication.”

A coal mine on the Crow Reservation was the first stop for Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to Montana.

After Air Force Two landed, Pence climbed into a waiting vehicle and went directly to the Crow Reservation.


Vice President Mike Pence and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke are scheduled to visit a coal mine on the Crow Reservation Friday. The Trump Administration has voiced its support for the coal industry, but spokesmen for the industry and an environmental organization aren’t certain what can be done to help that ailing energy source.