Coal lease wins in split vote


Mo n t a n a accepted Thursday a mining giant's $86 million bid for the rights to a vast tract holding a half-billion tons of state-owned coal — but not before environmentalist protesters briefly shut down the hearing and promised a long fight. Gov. Brian Schweitzer was joined by two other Democrats on the state Land Board in endorsing the deal with Arch Coal Inc. The governor said if developed, the state will get billions of dollars in taxes and royalties over the coming decades on top of the upfront cash to be delivered next month. "This is not one-time money," Schweitzer said. "This is...

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