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OSMRE Intends to Prepare an EIS for Spring Creek Mine’s Federal Mine Plan Modification

Date: Thursday, March 17, 2022

WASHINGTON – The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement will announce its intent to prepare an environmental impact statement for the Spring Creek Mine Federal Mining Plan Modification, consistent with direction from the U.S. District Court of Montana and in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act.

The court concluded that OSMRE, in approving the proposed mine expansion, had failed to adequately analyze the expansion’s effects on coal transportation and emissions of greenhouse gasses and other pollutants. The environmental review will reassess these effects and consider other impacts consistent with NEPA. In conducting an EIS, OSMRE will undertake a more comprehensive review than previously completed.

 The expansion of the mine, now owned by Navajo Transitional Energy Company, was approved in 2012 and would add approximately 184 acres and 51.5 million tons of federal coal to the previously-approved mining plan area of the Spring Creek Mine in Big Horn County, Montana, and extend the life of the mine by up to four years. 

Spring Creek Mine started operation in 1974 and is expected to continue to operate until at least 2025 under the current approved mining plan. The mine currently employs 282 people.

OSMRE will hold a virtual public scoping meeting and have a 30-day public scoping period to accept comments on the environmental issues that should be analyzed in the EIS. Instructions and cut-off dates for public comments are available in the Federal Register notice.  

After collecting public scoping comments, OSMRE will prepare a draft EIS for public review and comment. Following publication of a final EIS, and as provided by the Mineral Leasing Act, the U.S. Department of the Interior may approve, disapprove or conditionally approve the proposed mining plan modification.

The public scoping meeting will be held via Zoom from 4:00 – 6:00 PM MST on March 31, 2022. Please register to attend and provide verbal comments during the Zoom public scoping meeting.

The Notice of Intent was published for public inspection in the Federal Register on March 16. The project information and information regarding preparation of the EIS is available at


The OSMRE carries out the requirements of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 in cooperation with states and Tribes. OSMRE’s objectives are to ensure that coal mining activities are conducted in a manner that protects citizens and the environment during mining, to ensure that the land is restored to beneficial use after mining, and to mitigate the effects of past mining by aggressively pursuing reclamation of abandoned coal mines.