The $405 million Tongue River Railroad is the latest casualty of the crashing coal economy.
The federal Surface and Transportation Board published its unanimous decision Tuesday to kill the coal railroad given the recent bankruptcy of Arch Coal.
Arch was to develop the Otter Creek Mine south of Ashland, Montana — not far from the Wyoming border — which the railroad was to serve. In March, Arch suspended its environmental permitting application to Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality.
“At this time, there appears to be little prospect that Otter Creek Coal’s mine permit will be secured in the foreseeable future,” the STB concluded. “Otter Creek Coal and its parent, Arch, have both filed for bankruptcy, and Otter Creek Coal has suspended its application for an MDEQ mining permit indefinitely.”