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Associated Press, Published September 03 2012

Pace quickens to finish reclamation on North Dakota coal land

BISMARCK — It takes a long time to reclaim western North Dakota land that's been mined for coal, but the state Public Service Commission says the pace is getting a little quicker.

Western North Dakota coal companies have to put up a bond to ensure that mined land is restored to its former use.

Once the company can show the land is in good shape for farming or ranching, its bond obligation is lifted.

The Public Service Commission has agreed to release the bond on almost 1,500 acres of land at the Freedom Mine in west-central North Dakota.

Commissioner Kevin Cramer says more land is getting released from bond coverage. He says that helps put the land back into farming and ranching after mining is done.