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ND Supreme Court affirms coal company land reclamation deal

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) -- North Dakota's Supreme Court has upheld a land reclamation deal between a coal company and several government agencies.

The deal allows North Dakota's Transportation Department to get about 730 acres of reclaimed coal mine land from the Falkirk Mining Co.

As part of the bargain, 86 acres of land that used to be farmland has been switched to recreational use. Some of the land will provide food for wildlife.

The Dakota Resource Council protested. Attorney Derrick Braaten argued that state law requires that the property be converted back to farm land.

Braaten says there's no requirement to restore the agricultural productivity of the land if it's designated as recreational land.

The Supreme Court disagreed. Public Service Commission Chairman Tony Clark says the land deal has worked out well for everyone.