Crow Tribe aims to develop vast coal deposit on reservation

The Crow Tribe has partnered with Cloud Peak Energy to develop a mine on the reservation in Montana. Both are now a part of the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal in Washington. Photo from Big Metal Coal

The Crow Tribe of Montana is hoping to sell some of its vast coal resources to markets in Asia as part of a controversial energy development deal.

The tribe is working with Cloud Peak Energy on the Big Metal Mine. They hope to send about 1.4 billion tons of coal overseas.

“Assimilation, warfare, smallpox — all of that we’ve survived,” Chairman Darrin Old Coyote told Public Radio International. “And we’re ‘gonna continue moving forward to survive, and the only way I know how now is to develop our coal. What I’m doing is in the best interest of my people.”

Getting the coal to Asian markets requires the establishment of the Gateway Pacific Terminal. That's where the tribe is facing controversy because the site is located on the treaty fishing grounds of the Lummi Nation.

Lummi leaders are asking the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to deny a permit for the terminal. They are facing pushback from Montana's Congressional delegation, which supports the Crow Tribe's coal mine.

The terminal needs approval from the state of Washington in addition to the federal government, Inside Energy reported.

Get the Story:
A Native American tribe in Montana hopes its coal reserves will provide economic opportunity (Public Radio International 10/29)
Why Montana’s Crow Tribe Turns To Coal As Others Turn Away (Inside Energy 10/23)

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