Northern Cheyenne Tribe Files Lawsuit Challenging Trump’s Coal Decision

Northern Cheyenne Tribe President L. Jace Killsback

Published March 30, 2017

LAME DEER, MONTANA – The day after President Trump signed an executive order opening federal lands for coal leasing, the Northern Cheyenne Tribe  filed a lawsuit challenging the president’s action.

The tribe criticizes the Trump administration for not consulting with tribal leaders and “without analyzing the potential cultural, environmental, and socioeconomic impacts that the coal leasing program coal have on the Tribe, its members, and its lands.”

The tribe contends coal mining near their reservation has adverse health impact on its tribal citizens.

“It is alarming and unacceptable for the United States, which has a solemn obligation as the Northern Cheyenne’s trustee, to sign up for many decades of harmful coal mining near and around our homeland without first consulting with our Nation or evaluating the impacts to our Reservation and our residents,” Northern Cheyenne Tribe president L. Jace Killsback stated.

The tribe’s lawsuit challenges Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s lifting the the moratorium on the lease of federal coal. The moratorium was enacted so that the Department of the Interior could conduct a program-wide evaluation of coal leasing federal lands that would have included evaluation of impacts to the Northern Cheyenne Tribe and other affected tribal nations.

There are 426 million tons of coal located near the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation at the Decker and Spring Creek mines.

Mining “will adversely affect our sacred cultural properties and traditional spiritual practices, and will ultimately destroy the traditional way of life that the Nation has fought to preserve for centuries,” states Killsback.

Even though the proximity to the mining is close to the reservation, the tribe does not share in the economic benefits generated by the coal mining, according to Killsback.

Final Complaint. 03.29.17 Click to Read

 Complaint – CLICK TO READ  

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