About the Project
The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE), Western Region Office, prepared an environmental assessment (EA) and unsigned Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Bull Mountain Mine No. 1 mining plan modification for federal coal lease MTM 97988 (the Project). In accordance with the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 (MLA), The DOI Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management (ASLM) must approve the Project before any mining and reclamation can occur on lands containing leased federal coal.
The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) is seeking public input regarding the proposal to modify the permit application package for the federal mine plan, which are all associated with the mining and production of federally-owned coal at the Bull Mountain Mine No. 1 in Musselshell and Yellowstone, Montana.
The proposed Mining Plan Modification would allow Signal Peak to continue underground coal mining, within the permit area, on approximately 1,725 acres of additional Federal coal lands. In connection with mining this Federal coal, Signal Peak would also mine adjacent private and State coal. Mining would continue approximately 9 additional years and 87 million saleable tons of coal would be recovered. In addition to the mining of adjacent private and State coal, other actions that would be conducted in association with the proposed Mining Plan Modification (i.e., connected actions) include facilities associated with rock disposal; construction of roads, boreholes, and powerlines; installation of ventilation facilities; and other surface disturbances.
If no action is taken, Signal Peak would continue to mine approximately 2.5 years to recover the approximate 23 million saleable tons of coal remaining within the permit area.
The EA will update, clarify, and provide new and additional environmental information for the Project. As a result of the EA process, OSMRE and BLM will determine whether or not there are significant environmental impacts. An environmental impact statement will be prepared if the EA identifies significant impacts. If a finding of no significant impact is reached, and pursuant to 30 CFR 746.13, OSMRE will prepare and submit to the ASLM a mining plan decision document recommending approval, disapproval, or conditional approval of the mining plan. The ASLM will approve, disapprove, or conditionally approve the mining plan approval document within the mining plan decision document, as required under the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920.