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OSMRE initiates corrective environmental review of Bull Mountains Mining Plan Amendment

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Review responds to Court rulings and will analyze climate impacts

WASHINGTON- The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement has published a notice of intent to develop an environmental impact statement (EIS) on proposed modifications to the Bull Mountains Mine federal mining plan, initiating a public comment period that will run through September 6, 2023. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals identified inadequacies in the previously approved mining plan modification in October 2022, and the plan was subsequently vacated by the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana in February 2023.

The Bull Mountains Mine is operated by Signal Peak Energy in Musselshell and Yellowstone counties, Montana, about 30 miles north of Billings. Mining plan modifications were approved in 2015 and 2018 and this supplemental review will analyze the potential environmental effects of mining all of the federal coal covered by those approvals as well as an amendment currently pending with Montana Department of Environmental Quality. This supplemental review will also respond to concerns raised by the Court about the 2018 approval related to the prior analysis of the climate impacts of combusting the mined coal.

The proposed mining plan modification would allow for a total of 249 acres of additional surface disturbance and the recovery of an additional 30.6 million tons of saleable federal coal, extending the life of the mine by an estimated 8 to 10 years.

OSMRE will hold a public scoping meeting to provide more details and solicit feedback on the issues that should be analyzed in the environmental impact statement. Additional options and instructions for providing comments are available in the Federal Register notice.

The public scoping meeting will be held at the Roundup Community Center in Roundup, Montana, from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. MDT on August 30, 2023.

Mail hard copy comments to: ATTN: Bull Mountains Mine Amd 3&5 EIS C/O: Roberta Martínez Hernández, OSMRE Western Regions 5, 7-11 P.O. Box 25065 Lakewood, CO 80225-0065

Email comments to: Send emails with the subject line: ATTN: Bull Mountains Mine Amd 3&5 EIS

For more information on the Bull Mountains Mine Federal Mining Plan, visit:



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.