The Powder River Regional Coal Team (RCT) held its annual public meeting in Casper, Wyo. yesterday. The RCT provides a forum for public discussion on federal coal management issues in the Powder River Basin. RCT members include the Governors of Wyoming and Montana, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) State Directors from Wyoming and Montana and the BLM Deputy State Director of Minerals and Lands in Wyoming along with number of ex-officio members from other federal and state agencies, county governments and Native American tribes.
At the meeting, the RCT discussed an update on U.S. Geological Survey coal inventory work, an update on progress in processing existing coal applications for coal leasing in the Powder River Basin, the status of a potential exchange of preference right lease applications in New Mexico for competitive bidding rights in Wyoming, updating the data adequacy standards for evaluating coal lease applications, and status reports on BLM land use planning efforts for Wyoming and Montana portions of the Powder River Basin. The RCT also unanimously recommended that the BLM Montana begin processing the Spring Creek Lease By Application tract adjacent to the Spring Creek Mine in Big Horn County, Mont. BLM will begin preparation of an environmental impact statement to determine whether to offer the tract, or alternative configurations for a future competitive lease sale. The EIS process will include multiple rounds of public involvement and is expected to take several years.