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DEQ optimistic on deal to reopen Spring Creek Mine

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Posted at 3:25 PM, Oct 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-25 17:25:54-04

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality is optimistic they will come to an agreement today with the Navajo Transitional Energy Company (NTECH) that will reopen the Spring Creek Mine.

Hundreds of miners were told to stay home Thursday after the DEQ and NTECH failed to reach agreement on a state operating permit.

Spring Creek is one of three mines purchased by NTECH from Cloud Peak Energy during a bankruptcy auction earlier this month.

Two mines in Wyoming, the Antelope Mine and Cordero Rojo Mine, both transitioned without permit issues.

"DEQ is optimistic we will come to an agreement today," said Rebecca Harbage, Montana DEQ public policy director.

The two sides met separately this morning but will meet together this afternoon to try and resolve the permit issue.

The two sides have been at odds regarding sovereign immunity and the impact on state laws and regulations.

Spring Creek employs around 300 workers with most of them living in Sheridan County, Wyoming.

The Spring Creek mine is in Big Horn County, Montana approximately 30 miles north of the Wyoming/Montana border.