The Montana Department of Environmental Quality is asking for public input on the issues that should be analyzed in an environmental impact statement for a proposed 9,108 acre expansion of the Rosebud mine. The Rosebud Mine provides coal for the Colstrip coal-fired power plant.
This expansion, referred to as Area B Amendment 5, would allow Westmoreland Coal to dig up another 104 to 147 million tons of coal. That’s on top of the 82 million tons of additional coal that the company has recently proposed to mine from Area F and Area B Amendment 4. The Colstrip plant burns about 8 million tons of coal each year. Two of those units are required to close in 2022, so this newest proposal, on top of the other two expansions, would provide the Colstrip plant with coal beyond 2050. Even while seeking approval for these massive expansions, the owner of the mine, Westmoreland Coal, is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and has only reclaimed 2.4% of the existing Rosebud Mine since it opened in the early 1970’s. MORE INFORMATION