Otter Creek Project


The proposed Otter Creek Coal Mine would be approximately five miles southeast of the town of Ashland, in southeastern Montana. The Department of Environmental Quality is responsible for several different permitting actions for the Otter Creek Coal Mine.  

On July 26, 2012, Otter Creek Coal, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Arch Coal, Inc., filed with DEQ an application for a surface coal mining permit. The area encompassed by the application (Tract 2) comprises approximately 7,639 acres. The Permit Application Package includes plans for development, mining and reclamation of Tract 2, as well as general life-of-mine development plans for Tract 1 and Tract 3. 

DEQ and DNRC are jointly preparing an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to Montana Environmental Policy Act to analyze and disclose the effects of the mine; DEQ’s Industrial and Energy Minerals Bureau is reviewing  the mining application pursuant to Montana Surface and Underground Mine Reclamation Act; DEQ’s Water Protection Bureau will process the Montana Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit application (and related TMDL with the DEQ Planning Division); and DEQ’s Air Resources Management Bureau is processing an Air Quality Permit. All of these processes have public involvement components outlined in the flowchart below.
The federal Surface Transportation Board is conducting an EIS, pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act, on the proposed rail line that would transport the coal from the Otter Creek Coal tracts to various markets.
For questions, more information about any of our processes, please contact:  Kristi Ponozzo, 406-444-2813,

MPDES Deficiency March 2015 

MPDES Deficiency Response

MPDES Narrative 

EIS Scoping Report 

Informal Conference Decision 

January 2013 Newsletter