The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) published a notice of intent to develop an environmental impact statement (EIS) on proposed modifications to federal mining plan for Signal Peak Energy’s Bull Mountains mine, 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.
Located about 30 miles north of Billings, Montana, the Bull Mountains mine is one of America’s most productive longwall mines. Mine plan modifications were approved in 2015 and 2018. OSM said this supplemental review will analyze the potential environmental effects of mining all the federal coal covered by those approvals as well as an amendment currently pending with Montana Department of Environmental Quality. The agency also said this supplemental review will 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.
OSM 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