Conflicting interests affect coal railroad project

Some are more valued than others, some not at all. Some are being mined while other sites remain in perpetual potential.

A long-term effort to develop the more desirable coal under the rangeland of Eastern Montana is stymied by a triangle of common, yet competing interests at a time when the political/economic trend is shading against further use of even the cleanest burning varieties of the fossil fuel.

Continuing a quest that began in the early 1980s, the owner of a permit to build a railroad that would haul low-sulfur, high-heat coal from southeastern Montana has asked the state to prepare a lease bid for more than 300 million tons of state-owned coal.

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