Deadline for Comments is Friday, October 11
Colorado based Westmoreland Coal Company owns and operates the Rosebud Coal mine in Southeastern Montana, one of the largest coal strip mines in the United States. Westmoreland Coal Company is proposing to dig up an additional 71 million tons of coal, equivalent to approximately 140 million tons of greenhouse gases. Westmoreland is proposing this massive and devastating expansion in the face of very serious and unavoidable impacts to our environment, and we need you to speak out today against this terrible proposal.
Westmoreland’s Rosebud coal strip mine is currently permitted for 25,576 acres, with virtually all of the coal being shipped to the Colstrip coal-fired power plant. Westmoreland Coal Company is seeking to expand the mine by 6,746 acres, and extend the mine life by an estimated 19 years. Westmoreland’s proposed expansion would add greenhouse gas pollution to our atmosphere, pollute our air and water, and further imperil threatened and endangered species.
The U.S. Office of Surface Mining (OSM) and the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) are preparing a joint environmental impact statement on Westmoreland’s proposed expansion, and are currently collecting comments from the public on the scope of this analysis. We need you to contact them today, and assure that their analysis is robust and fully analyzes the major environmental impacts this proposal would have.
Water quality has already been severely impaired by Westmoreland’s current mining activities. DEQ has said that Westmoreland’s Rosebud coal mine is the probable source of pollutants. Mining laws prohibit activities that may cause “material damage” to waterways outside of permit boundaries. However, Westmoreland is moving ahead with its permit application anyway.
Westmoreland Coal Company is proposing this greedy and reckless expansion at a time when we are seeing rapid changes in our energy system. Coal is becoming an outdated form of energy production because of its disproportionate impact on our environment and public health. Last week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a report that reinforced the destructive impacts that human caused climate change is having on our environment and public health. It’s time we chart a path to a clean energy future, not continue to unnecessarily rely on outdated and dangerous coal.
Speak up today against this reckless proposal.