Friday, October 25, 2019

Navajo Transitional Energy Takes Possession of Cloud Peak Mine Assets, Montana DEQ stalls operations at Spring Cre

By Native News Online Staff - October 25, 2019 at 12:00AM

Spring Creek Mine is at risk.

Published October 25, 2019

NTEC has taken ownership of the Cloud Peak assets, operating seamlessly in Wyoming, while Montana DEQ makes unreasonable demands putting Tribal sovereignty and the future of Spring Creek Mine at risk.

FARMINGTON, N.M. On Thursday, Navajo Transitional Energy Company (NTEC), finalized acquisition, and took possession of, the Spring Creek mine in Montana and the Cordero Rojo and Antelope mines in Wyoming.

The former owner, Cloud Peak Energy, was forced to sell the assets as a result of bankruptcy proceedings and NTEC emerged as the most qualified buyer. “With the acquisition of these mines, NTEC is thrilled to become a neighbor and important employer in Montana and Wyoming,” said Clark Moseley, President and CEO of NTEC.  “We look forward to working with the existing team of 1200 employees and implementing our exceptional record of safety, reclamation, and community partnership in the Powder River Basin.”

NTEC has planned to retain the existing workforce at all three mines and hopes for a seamless transition.  While everything is operating seamlessly at the Wyoming Mines—Antelope and Cordero Rojo, an impasse with Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) over sovereign immunity[1] has resulted in the immediate and indefinite shuttering of operations at Spring Creek Mine—putting employees out of work.

Despite months of productive conversations with Montana DEQ, last week, the agency demanded a full and complete waiver of sovereign immunity from NTEC.   As a wholly owned Navajo entity, NTEC has agreed to a partial waiver, allowing the company to be regulated by Montana under any and all state laws.  On Monday, Carlson Goes Ahead, Vice Chairman of the Crow Tribe of Indians wrote a letter to Governor Bullock requesting that “…the State of Montana maintain consistency in its relations amongst tribes and extend NTEC the same comity and respect it has shown to tribal nations located within the state.”

NTEC will continue to work with Montana DEQ to solve this issue and get the people at Spring Creek back to work.  “We are shocked and disappointed that the State is taking this position and putting the future of Spring Creek at risk”, said Tim McLaughlin, Chairman of NTEC. “We have done everything in our power to ensure the State that we will operate under their laws, but we simply cannot consent to a full waiver of the rights preserved in our Treaties—to do so would put the foundations of Indian Country at great risk.”

The post Navajo Transitional Energy Takes Possession of Cloud Peak Mine Assets, Montana DEQ stalls operations at Spring Cre appeared first on Native News Online.

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