DEQ Releases Final Environmental Impact Statement for a Proposed Mine Amendment to the Rosebud Coal Mine

Department of Environmental Quality
  • Moira Davin
  • May 09 2022

HELENA—Today, the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) released a Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) analyzing the potential impacts from the proposed fifth amendment (project) to the operating permit for Area B at the Rosebud Mine, an existing surface coal mine near Colstrip, Mont. The Rosebud Mine is operated by Westmoreland Rosebud Mining, LLC. The proposed fifth amendment includes additional acres for mining activities that would extend the life of the mine by seven years.

If the project is approved, 9,108 acres would be added to the existing Area B permit area. The Area B operations plan and reclamation plan would be updated to include additional mine passes and reclamation in the existing permit area. This EIS also analyzes an application for a new Montana Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (MPDES) permit for new discharges in the project area.

A draft EIS was published for public review and comment for 60 days, ending on Nov. 23, 2020. DEQ held a remote public meeting on Nov. 10, 2020, to provide information and accept comment on the draft EIS.

During the application review, and to address public comments on the Draft EIS, DEQ determined that mining in certain areas of the project would potentially cause material damage to Rosebud Creek. DEQ analyzed additional alternatives in the Final EIS to protect Rosebud Creek.

The Final EIS addresses substantive issues and concerns raised at the public meeting and in public comment. All new information and analysis supplied during the comment period and developed in response to comments received were used to prepare the Final EIS. 

To view the Final EIS, please visit the DEQ website at:

DEQ will make its final decision and provide its rationale in ​the Record of Decision and the Written Finding. The Written Finding is a public notice that identifies DEQ’s decision, its reasons for the decision and any special conditions surrounding the decision or its implementation. Pursuant to the Administrative Rules of Montana, DEQ may issue its Written Findings no less than 15 days after publication of the Final EIS.