PNS Daily News - November 22, 2019 

President Trump signs a spending bill to avert a government shutdown; it's deadline day for cities to opt out of a federal opioid settlement; and a new report says unsafe toys still are in stores.

2020Talks - November 22, 2019 

Affordable housing legislation was introduced in Congress yesterday, following the first debate questions about housing. Plus, Israeli PM Bibi Netanyahu was indicted for fraud, bribery, and breach of trust, just days after the Trump administration’s policy greenlighting Israeli settlement of the West Bank. And finally, former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg continues his slow and steady potential entry into the race.

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Montana Land Board Empowered by Judge’s Ruling

February 9, 2012

BROADUS, Mont. - The State Land Board will get the final say when it comes to protecting private property, air and water impacted by mining Otter Creek coal tracts. a federal judge has ruled.

Judge Joseph Hegel also ruled that the board did not have to consider environmental impacts of mining the 1.2 billion tons of coal before signing a lease.

It's about more than taking coal out of the ground, says Broadus-area rancher Walter Archer, because it also has to be shipped - and that means building the Tongue River Railroad to carry 25 coal trains a day over the countryside and through small towns.

"We can hope, I guess, that they will consider all of the environmental effects that opening up this mine will have in southeastern Montana - air, water, and everything else."

Arch Coal already has started clearing land for the project, Archer says, so the Land Board needs to set conditions soon - or it could be too late.

The State Land Board is charged with managing state resources for optimum financial benefit to the state, and the Otter Creek coal project is expected to bring the state millions in the years to come. Archer's response:

"I understand that, but I also think that there are other things that may be just as important."

The Northern Plains Resource Council, National Wildlife Federation and Sierra Club had taken the State Land Board to court for not assessing environmental impacts before leasing the coal.

Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - MT