Arch Coal asks Surface Transportation Board to suspend all work on Tongue River Railroad
Today, Arch Coal submitted a letter to the Surface Transportation Board asking that the agency suspend all work on the Tongue River Railroad permit and environmental impact statement.* Arch Coal and Burlington Northern Santa Fe are blaming the Montana Department of Environmental Quality for being slow in issuing a permit for the proposed Otter Creek mine. I find that claim to be ridiculous considering Arch Coal has consistently left out entire required sections of their permit application and done shoddy work on what they did submit. According to the Associated Press, the company stated that they hoped production at the Otter Creek mine might start by January 2017, but "with mine permitting delays and near-term market weakness, that timeline now appears unachievable." It was always unachievable. BNSF spokesperson Matt Jones told the AP that,
"We have not withdrawn the application," Jones said. "The TRRC has simply submitted a request to suspend the permitting process due largely to the ongoing delays to the mine permitting process."By ongoing delays I think he means that Arch Coal is on its way to bankruptcy, coal markets are tanking and, oh yeah, there is massive community opposition to the railroad and coal mine. Bye, bye Tongue River Railroad.