Last night the story broke that Arch Coal has officially applied for its permits to strip mine Otter Creekin southeast Montana. The Otter Creek Mine would turn the area into a massive coal mining operation with new roads, rail lines and polluted waterways if Arch is granted permits.
Some details about Arch Coal and Otter Creek:
- The proposed Otter Creek Mine, which sits between two national forests, would cover 7,639 acres of state, federal and private land in southeastern Montana.
- Arch Coal, which owns the rights to mine approximately 1.5-billion tons of coal in southeastern Montana.
- In March 2010, St. Louis-based Arch Coal agreed to pay the state $86 million plus future royalties to mine a half billion tons of coal on state-owned Otter Creek land
- The application calls for transporting the coal by rail, but the proposed Tongue River Railroad, which would transfer much of the coal from the Powder River Basin, has yet to gain federal approval. In June the Surface Transportation Board ordered the proposed railroad’s backers to submit a new application. The board also said it will conduct another environmental study of the line proposed between Miles City and Ashland.