Court says coal mine expansion permit ignored pollution law

Posted at 10:30 AM, Oct 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-29 12:36:24-04

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A Montana judge says state regulators ignored the law when they permitted an expansion of a massive strip mine that is the sole source of coal for a large power plant.

State District Judge Katherine Bidegaray ordered the Department of Environmental Quality to revisit the 2015 permit to expand the 25,752-acre Rosebud Mine.

Thursday's order came after environmental groups sued over damage to a nearby creek from wastewater that flows out of the mine.

Rosebud fuels the Colstrip Power Plant, which burns about 8 million tons of coal annually.

It's unclear what the ruling means for ongoing mine operations.

Rosebud's Colorado-based owner, Westmoreland Mining, did not immediately respond to the ruling.