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Colstrip

An aerial view shows Colstrip power plants 1, 2, 3 and 4 and the Westmoreland coal mines near Colstrip in 2013.

BILLINGS— Environmental groups challenging the expansion of a southeastern Montana coal mine say state regulators have failed to address its effects on streams and aquifers.

The state Department of Environmental Quality approved the 12-million-ton expansion of the Rosebud Mine south of Colstrip in December.

Anne Hedges with the Montana Environmental Information Center said Wednesday that the mine already has impacted waterways. She says the proposed expansion would make those problems worse.

Hedges' group and the Sierra Club have appealed the expansion with the state Board of Environmental Review.

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Rosebud is a strip mine operated by Colorado's Westmoreland Coal Co. It provides fuel for the nearby Colstrip power plant.

Westmoreland attorney Jeremy Cottrell says he anticipates no impacts on the mine's daily operations during a nine to 12 month appeals process.

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