The Signal Peak coal mine amounts to hundreds of jobs and hundreds of millions in tax revenue for the Billings, Montana area. That project and those jobs are now at risk, according to a report in The Big Sky Business Journal.

The Big Sky Business Journal's Evelyn Pyburn joined us on the radio Monday morning. Inaction by the Biden Administration, combined with a hostile decision from a liberal federal judge in Missoula, is now putting the Signal Peak coal mine near Roundup at risk.

As Evelyn reports, two thirds of the 260 workers at the Signal Peak mine live in Yellowstone County.  The company has paid $211 million in taxes over the past three years to Yellowstone and Musselshell Counties. The President and CEO of Signal Peak, Parker Phipps, says the mine is now "in jeopardy."

According to Pyburn's report, "Mining operations will have to cease at the end of 2025, given the decree in February 2023 by US District Judge Donald Molloy, who said more environmental impact studies must be done. While he said it should take two years to do the studies, the U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement has not initiated them, prompting speculation that the delay is deliberate."

Pyburn added, "Signal Peak has launched a lawsuit against the agency. On average the company employees earn $135,000 a year, totaling  $45 million annually paid by the company for employees. Taxes paid to state and federal governments was $92.5 million in 2023, and $47 million over the past three years to K-12 public education in Montana."

If you ask me- we've already seen attacks on coal and Colstrip lead to the demise of Colstrip 1 and 2. Now we have a liberal federal judge trying to put a stop to the coal mine north of Billings, while the Biden Administration appears poised to sit back and allow it to happen. November of 2024 can't come soon enough.


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