October 06, 2016 - 9:59 AM
BILLINGS, Mont. - U.S. officials have approved a 117 million-ton expansion of a Montana coal mine after concluding that burning the fuel would have a minor impact on the nation's overall greenhouse gas emissions.
Federal mining officials said in documents made public Thursday that burning coal from the Spring Creek Mine would generate roughly 160 million tons of carbon dioxide over the next five years.
The officials say that would be less than 1 per cent of projected U.S. emissions of the climate changing gas.
Environmentalists with Wildearth Guardians had sued the Interior Department to challenge the expansion of the coal mine near the Montana-Wyoming border.
U.S. District Judge Susan Watters ordered in January a rigorous study of the planned expansion.
Spring Creek is Montana's largest coal mine. It's owned by Cloud Peak Energy.
News from © The Associated Press, 2016