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Another Coal Project Bites the Dust

Arch Coal's plans to develop a mine in Otter Creek Valley, east of Billings, is the latest casualty in the death throes of the coal industry.
March 12, 2016, 9am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"Arch Coal suspended its application for a major mine in southeastern Montana on Thursday, two months after the mining giant filed for bankruptcy protection and amid broader struggles for the coal industry that have reversed its once-bright prospects in the state," reports Matthew Brown.

Mike Dennison reported on the project back in 2010, when the "state Land Board…voted 3-2 Thursday to approve leasing 570 million tons of state-owned coal for development of a mine in southeastern Montana’s Otter Creek Valley." That approval came despite 45 minutes of anti-mining protest at the beginning of the hearing. St. Louis-based Arch Coal Inc. paid a $85.8 million up-front bid for a ten-year window to develop the mine, located 150 miles east of Billings.

Back to 2016: Brown reports that the demise of the project was preceded by a decision last year to put a $400 million railroad to the mine on indefinite hold. "The loss of the two projects sinks near-term hopes for a coal-fueled economic boom in southeastern Montana," according to Brown.

The article also includes details on how the decision to end the project will affect the state's gubernatorial race. Elizabeth Harball and Madelyn Beck reported in a separate article about how the Obama Administration's climate rule is affecting the politics of that campaign.

Full Story:
Published on Thursday, March 10, 2016 in Bozeman Daily Chronicle
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