Schweitzer Tours Coal Country with Arch

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – Gov. Brian Schweitzer toured the Otter Creek coal tracts Tuesday with representatives of the company that paid the state $86 million just for the right to try and mine it.

Schweitzer says he and representatives from Arch Coal Inc. looked over the site and met with leaders of the neighboring Northern Cheyenne tribe and with Broadus residents to answer questions about the project.

The state recently leased the massive coal tracts to mining giant Arch Coal Inc. for a bonus bid of $86 million — and the promise of billions more in taxes and royalties over the coming decades if the mine is developed.

Schweitzer says the coal giant hopes to have permits in place within three years, and start mining in six to seven years.

The project already faces two lawsuits from environmental groups.

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