Crow Tribe and Lummi Nation at odds over big coal project

The Crow Tribe has partnered with Cloud Peak Energy to develop a mine on its reservation Montana. Photo from Big Metal Coal

The Crow Tribe wants to develop the vast coal resources on its reservation in Montana but another Indian nation nearly a thousand miles away is posing some hurdles.

The Crows believe the Big Metal Mine will bring jobs and revenue to their people. But the project's viability hinges on the establishment of a coal export terminal in Washington.

That's where the Lummi Nation comes in. The tribe believes the Gateway Pacific Terminal will harm its treaty-protected fishing rights and has asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to block the project.

Members of the Lummi Nation stand against a coal export terminal in Washington. Photo from Sierra Club

The Crows and the Lummis met at least once to discuss their concerns. But the Lummis, along with other Pacific Northwest tribes, are apparently resisting another meeting requested by the Crows.

"Everyone says it's Lummi against Crow," Lummi council member Johnny Felix told The Los Angeles Times. "It's not. It's not a tribe against a tribe. It's a resource against a resource. That's our resource — out there in the water. And their resource is coal."

Get the Story:
In dispute over coal mine project, two ways of life hang in the balance (The Los Angeles Times 7/21)

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