- Associated Press - Thursday, June 9, 2016

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - Coal production in Montana continues to drop, with mines yielding about a third less this spring than in 2015.

The Billings Gazette reports (http://bit.ly/1TXwCDV ) that between January and May, Montana produced 9.6 million tons of coal, down 4 million tons compared to the same four months a year earlier.

Bud Clinch of the Montana Coal Council says Montana mines are on pace to dig about 28 million tons of coal in 2016; 42 million less than in 2015. Clinch says the sluggish mines will likely hurt state tax revenue.

The Montana Department of Revenue estimates coal tax collections through May are down $7 million when compared to the previous year.

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Information from: The Billings Gazette, http://www.billingsgazette.com

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