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Last updated: July 01. 2013 1:36PM - 356 Views
Associated Press



FILE - In this April 4, 2013 file photo, a mechanized shovel loads coal onto a haul truck at the Cloud Peak Energy's Spring Creek mine near Decker, Mont. On Thursday, June 20, 2013, federal officials gave the green light for a Montana Indian tribe to lease an estimated 1.4 billion tons of coal to a Wyoming company that's moving aggressively to expand its U.S. coal exports to Asia. The deal between Cloud Peak Energy and the Crow Tribe involves more coal than the U.S. consumes annually. (AP Photo/Matthew Brown)
FILE - In this April 4, 2013 file photo, a mechanized shovel loads coal onto a haul truck at the Cloud Peak Energy's Spring Creek mine near Decker, Mont. On Thursday, June 20, 2013, federal officials gave the green light for a Montana Indian tribe to lease an estimated 1.4 billion tons of coal to a Wyoming company that's moving aggressively to expand its U.S. coal exports to Asia. The deal between Cloud Peak Energy and the Crow Tribe involves more coal than the U.S. consumes annually. (AP Photo/Matthew Brown)
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(AP) After several years of taking a beating, the coal industry was on the rebound this year as mining projects moved forward in the Western U.S. and demand for the fuel began to rise, especially in Asia.


But almost overnight, coal is back on the defensive, scrambling to stave off President Barack Obama's renewed push to rein in climate change.


The administration's proposal would put facilities like Montana's 2,100-megawatt Colstrip electricity plant in regulators' cross hairs. That could have spin-off implications for the massive strip mines that dot the surrounding Powder River Basin and provide the bulk of the nation's coal.


Colstrip burns about 10 million tons of coal a year, serving customers as far away as Washington state, and produces as much carbon dioxide as roughly 3 million cars.


Associated Press
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