Judge rules Department of Interior approved expansion illegally

February 12, 2019

Late Monday, February 11, a federal judge ruled that the U.S. Department of the Interior illegally approved a coal mine expansion in southeast Montana. Guardians and allies filed suit against Interior’s approval of the expansion back in 2017.

The 1,117-acre expansion of the Spring Creek mine and authorization of an additional 84.8 million tons of coal for strip mining would unleash more than 150 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, equal to the amount released by 31 million cars annually. Officials boldly claimed these emissions would not be significant, which the federal magistrate soundly rejected. “The bottom line is, politics don’t trump facts,” said Guardians’ Jeremy Nichols.

Spring Creek is the largest coal mine in Montana. Owned by Cloud Peak Energy, it ships coal to power plants in the Midwest, Washington, and Arizona, as well as to the Pacific Northwest for export to Asia.

Read the press release.

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