By Matthew Brown
November 1, 2017 - A judge has given a reprieve to the owners of a Montana coal mine who had warned layoffs were imminent after the mine's expansion plans were blocked.
U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy said Tuesday that preparatory work in the expansion area can proceed while the mine's climate change impacts are further studied.
Signal Peak Energy had said 30 workers would be laid off by the end of October and up to 150 more in coming months under a prior order from the judge.
The order allows the company to remove up to 170,000 tons of coal from federal leases adjacent to its Bull Mountain Mine north of Billings.
The company is barred from selling or shipping the fuel until the federal government completes a new environmental analysis.