BILLINGS – The Bureau of Land Management will hold a sealed-bid competitive lease sale for 630 acres of federal coal adjacent to BNI Coal, Ltd.’s existing Center Mine in Oliver, North Dakota. The proposed lease tracts are within the current mine planning area and contain an estimated 11 million tons of federal coal.

The lease sale will be held at the BLM Montana/Dakotas State Office in Billings, on Jan. 15, at 10 a.m. All members of the public are invited to attend. Social distancing will be practiced, and limited seating will be available due to COVID-19.

“Conducting a sale to lease the federal coal resources contained in these tracts will maintain America’s energy independence and directly preserve 177 jobs at the Center Mine and 175 jobs at the Milton R. Young Power Station, which is supplied coal from the mine,” said Donato Judice, Deputy State Director for Energy, Minerals and Realty for the BLM Montana/Dakotas State Office.

BNI’s operation also supports an estimated 500 indirect jobs that are dependent on the mining operation.

An issue-based environmental assessment was prepared to analyze potential impacts of this leasing action. The BLM signed a Finding of No Significant Impact and Decision Record on Oct. 20, enabling the lease sale to proceed. The BLM actively engaged interested parties, partner agencies and tribal governments in all aspects of the environmental analysis.

The Department of the Interior’s Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation and Enforcement and the North Dakota Public Service Commission were cooperators in this effort and assisted in the preparation of the EA. The BLM is the leasing authority for all Federal coal resources under the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 (40 C.F.R. 1505.3).

More information is available on the BLM e-Planning project website at Search using the NEPA number: DOI-BLM-MT-C030-2017-0088-EA.

For additional lease sale and bidding procedure details, contact Greg Fesko at 406-896-5080.

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