BILLINGS, Mont. — Environmental groups say an economic study of southeastern Montana's proposed Otter Creek coal mine exaggerates the benefits and understates the costs of the project near the Wyoming border.
The University of Montana's Bureau of Business and Economic Research said in its study that the mine would create almost 2,000 construction jobs and 350 mining jobs and generate $90 million annually in tax revenues.
But the Sierra Club, Montana Environmental Information Center and National Wildlife Federation say the projections ignore the environmental costs associated with building the mine.
They say the study exaggerates wages for newly-created jobs, and argue those positions could be short-lived given economic pressures facing the coal industry.
Arch Coal, Inc. is seeking to mine up to 20 million tons of coal annually from Otter Creek.