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Western Public Lands

Company's coal lease in SE Montana puts pressure on state

Arch Coal Inc. has signed a lease agreement to mine the vast Otter Creek coal field in southeastern Montana — ramping up pressure on Gov. Brian Schweitzer and other state officials to lease adjacent coal tracts controlled by the state. Combined with Montana's tracts, the newly leased reserves in the Powder River Basin contain 1.3 billion tons of coal. That's more than the entire United States burns annually. Yet it will be difficult for Arch — the nation's second largest coal company — to move forward without enlisting the state's cooperation. Read the full story from the Great Falls Tribune.