Opinion: Don't stop Crow Tribe from developing own resources

Writers say Crow Tribe of Montana should be able to develop coal resources on the reservation:
On a recent visit to the Crow Indian Nation, we learned how local opposition to coal exports is impacting one of the poorest communities in the state.

Some cities along rail routes in Montana are trying to limit coal-train traffic, citing concerns about quality of life, traffic congestion, and coal dust. At issue are two proposed coal export terminals in Washington that, if approved, would ramp up coal rail shipments from southeastern Montana to the west coast for export to Asian markets.

Last week, the Missoula City Council passed a resolution asking the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to expand the scope of its environmental review of the Millennium Bulk Terminal in Longview, Wash., more than 500 miles away. The city council wants the agency to consider the impacts of increased coal-rail traffic moving through Missoula. City officials in Helena have also expressed similar concerns.

If successful, the economic consequences of Missoula’s resolution—which ultimately aims to prevent Montana coal from ever reaching a western port—are obvious enough. But as we witnessed on our recent trip with several state representatives to the Crow Nation, such restrictions would be a crushing blow to the impoverished tribe.

Get the Story:
Shawn Regan and Fred Thomas: Crow Nation should be heard in coal export debate (The Whitefish Pilot 11/6)

Related Stories:
Opinion: Crow Tribe faces tough market with coal energy deal (10/25)
Darrin Old Coyote: Coal project is big opportunity for Crow Tribe (10/21)
Crow Tribe looks to coal development as way to aid economy (09/13)

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