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Wrongly announced expansion of Montana coal mine - US officials

Coal News - Published on Tue, 02 Jan 2018

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Dayton Daily News reported that US officials said that they misspoke when they recently announced that they had approved an expansion of a Montana coal mine that would keep it operating for another 19 years. US Interior Department spokeswoman Ms Heather Swift said that 60 million ton mine expansion is under review. In an email, she blamed internal miscommunication for the incorrect announcement about Westmoreland Coal Company's Rosebud Mine.

The Interior Department merely plans to release a draft study of the expansion for 45 days of public review and comment, Ms Swift said by email. She wasn't sure when the public comment period would occur.

Most coal mined in the US West belongs to the federal government. The planned study is part of a government process that typically takes several years and culminates with the coal being offered at auction. The auctions rarely draw more than one bidder besides the owner of the mine adjacent to the coal.

Sometimes, though, a competing company submits the highest bid. Occasionally, the US Bureau of Land Management determines the bids are too low and doesn't award the lease to anybody.

The Rosebud Mine supplies coal to the 2,100-megawatt power plant in Colstrip, Montana, one of the largest in the western U.S. The plant, owned predominantly by Puget Sound Energy, provides power to customers across the Pacific Northwest.

The expansion would add 10.5 square miles (27 square kilometers) to the 40-square-mile (104-square kilometer) strip mine and would help keep the mine operating after the power plant shuts down two of its four generating units in 2022 as planned.

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Posted By : Nanda Koijam on Tue, 02 Jan 2018
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