Times: In the Northwest, rising coal exports to Asia stir huge fight

Times: In the Northwest, rising coal exports to Asia stir huge fight

Credit: Alan Berner / The Seattle Times

Times: In the Northwest, rising coal exports to Asia stir huge fight

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by HAL BERNTON / The Seattle Times

KING5.com

Posted on April 28, 2013 at 12:57 PM

DECKER, Mont. - At Spring Creek Mine, a broad black seam of coal, reaching depths of 80 feet, runs like a subterranean river through arid, sagebrush-covered hills.

This is a world-class seam formed from the remnants of ferns, grasses and other plants that flourished here more than 50 million years ago, when this part of Montana was a humid marsh.

Cloud Peak Energy, operators of this mine, and other companies have proposals that could eventually double the state’s coal production — part of the push for a big expansion of U.S. coal exports.

“There has been more activity in Montana in the last three years than there has been in a generation,” said Todd O’Hair, a senior manager at Cloud Peak.

Read the full Seattle Times story

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