ST. LOUIS – Seven protesters were arrested at the Montana state capitol during demonstrations against Arch Coal’s proposal to mine coal in the state, USA Today reports.
St. Louis-based Arch asked the Montana state government in July for a permit to mine the Otter Creek area in southeastern Montana. Arch currently owns the rights to about 1.5 billion tons of coal at Otter Creek .
Activists are worried about a range of potential consequences including pollution, widespread strip mining, threats to property rights and issues related to coal exports. They went to the capitol building in Helena, Mont., last week to protest; among those arrested was prominent writer and environmentalist Rick Bass.
Arch’s plan depends not only on receiving an application from the Montana state government, but also on a proposed railroad project which has not been approved by state officials yet.