HELENA – The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) will hold public scoping meetings to accept comments on the proposed Otter Creek Coal, LLC – Otter Creek Coal Mine project located approximately five miles southeast of Ashland, Montana. 

The public scoping period for the project will begin January 3, 2013 and end February 4, 2013. The purpose of the scoping process is to provide information about the proposed development and to identify concerns and issues the public may have concerning the project.  Comments received from the public will be used to establish the scope of an environmental impact statement that DEQ will prepare to disclose the potential direct, secondary and cumulative impacts of the proposed Otter Creek Coal Mine.

There will be 3 open house meetings to provide the public with information on the proposed project and an opportunity to submit scoping comments directly to DEQ personnel.

The following are the times and locations for three scoping meetings:

* Broadus, Montana – Community Center; January 16, 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM * Ashland, Montana – St Labre School; January 17, 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM  * Lame Deer, Montana – Charging Horse Casino; January 17, 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Otter Creek Coal has submitted an operating permit application to conduct strip mining of the coal deposit at the proposed Otter Creek Coal Mine in Powder River County. The proposed mine operation would also include access roads, facilities, equipment staging, operational areas, and a railroad loop.  The proposed mine area is located between Ashland and Broadus and is accessed by U.S. Highway 212 and Montana Route 484.  The primary drainage in the area is Otter Creek, a northward flowing perennial tributary of the Tongue River.

The proposed permit area includes land owned or controlled by Otter Creek Coal and totals approximately 7,639 acres.  Additionally, Otter Creek Coal has identified a life-of-mine area that included an additional 10,580 acres in two tracts to the north and west of the proposed mine (Tracts I and III).

The proposed Mine Project would have an estimated life of 20 years.

Scoping comments must be received by Monday February 4, 2013.  Written comments should be submitted to Kristi Ponozzo; DEQ Director’s Office, P.O. Box 200901, Helena, MT 59620-0901.  Comments may also be emailed to deqcoalcomments@mt.gov.  For more information about coal permitting visit the DEQ website at www.deq.mt.gov.


The DEQ is an equal opportunity program and will make reasonable accommodations for persons who are not English speakers or persons with a disability that may interfere with their ability to participate in the scoping meetings or public comment process.  If you require an accommodation, please contact Kristi Ponozzo at 406-444-2813 or kponozzo@mt.gov by Thursday, January 10.