HELENA, Mont. (AP) -- The Montana Land Board is endorsing plans to lease more state coal to the operators of the Bull Mountain Mine south of Roundup.
The proposal received an initial voice of support Monday from a land board run by Gov. Brian Schweitzer and other statewide elected officials. Representatives of environmental groups that oppose the sale argued the state wasn't charging enough for a dirty fuel.
The Montana Department of Natural Resources estimates the state could get $15 million over the life of the project on its land after the bid process is complete.
Mine owner Signal Peak Energy recently leased federal coal on adjacent federal Bureau of Land Management parcels.
The coal tracts are in the path of the 300-employee Bull Mountain mine and are key to future mining.