BILLINGS — A federal magistrate judge says U.S. officials have failed for a second time to adequately consider the potential climate change effects from a major expansion of a Montana coal mine.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy Cavan recommended in a Monday ruling that the Interior Department be given 240 days to re-analyze the expansion. But Cavan says mining shouldn’t be stopped in the interim.
Cloud Peak Energy’s Spring Creek Mine near Decker is largest coal mine in Montana and tenth largest in the U.S.
The public land that’s in dispute was leased by the Wyoming-based company in 2007.
Environmentalists sued after the expansion was approved, claiming climate change hadn’t been fully considered.
That led to a 2016 order for officials to re-examine the environmental impacts, and then another lawsuit when that study was completed.