Description: Challenge to new environmental review conducted for re-approval of mining plan modification allowing expansion of an underground coal mine in Montana.
350 Montana v. Bernhardt
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 01/16/2019 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Lawsuit Filed Challenging New NEPA Review for Underground Coal Mine’s Expansion. Environmental groups filed a new lawsuit in federal district court in Montana challenging federal defendants’ re-approval of an expansion of the Bull Mountains Mine, an underground coal mine in Montana. The court previously vacated an environmental assessment prepared for the expansion, finding that the Office of Surface Mining had failed to take a hard look at indirect and cumulative effects of coal transportation and combustion and at foreseeable greenhouse gas emissions and the economic costs associated with emissions. In the new complaint, the plaintiffs alleged that the defendants had expanded and increased their analysis of the mine expansion’s economic benefits “while once more refusing to acknowledge and quantify the economic costs of the expansion,” ignoring “expert evidence that the harm from the mine expansion, from greenhouse gas pollution and toxic and harmful air pollution, would cost the public billions of dollars and be 5 to 15 times greater than the economic benefits of the mine.” The plaintiffs asserted that the defendants violated NEPA by failing to prepare an environmental impact statement and by once again failing to take a hard look at impacts and to consider reasonable alternatives, including replacing the mine with renewable resources.