The mining stopped in the mid-90s.
But the reclamation work goes on.
Knife River Coal continues to work on reclaiming the Gascoyne Mine in southwestern North Dakota. It has one permitted parcel left to reclaim.
"This has taken decades," said Public Service Commissioner Randy Christmann, who holds the PSC's reclamation portfolio. "While some of the features were tiny, they weren't ignored."
Christmann said the company needed to make sure the reclamation was done correctly, even though mining operations had ceased -- and no revenue was coming in.
"They needed to get it done according to the plan," Christmann said.
Christmann said for decades, the company has been held to tough standards.
"For the long term, multi-generational good of North Dakota, I think it's a good thing," Christmann said.
North Dakota’s reclamation laws are the strictest in the nation.