The leader of the Crow Nation, a Native American tribe located in Montana, joined other state attorney generals in fighting against the Obama administration’s proposed plan to cut back on power plant carbon emissions.
The tribe has joined the cause in fear that the new plan, which hopes to reduce emissions by 30%, would be a huge blow to the tribe’s already frail economy. The reason for this is that coal, which serves as one of the tribe’s main resources, is used to fuel power plants. Cutting back on emissions would mean reducing the amount of coal being sent to power plants, which would cut into the overall profits of the tribe.
The LA Times reports that even without the plan the tribe is facing a staggering 47% unemployment rate. Cutting back on coal, which currently makes up two-thirds of the tribe’s nonfederal budget, would send that rate soaring. Crow Chairman Darrin Old Coyote has stated that the EPA is “overstepping their bounds” with their new restrictions and has called the plan “devastating” to the Crow Nation’s livelihood. The tribe currently owns two million acres of subsurface mineral rights, which includes an estimated nine billion tons of coal.
EPA officials were reported to have met with Crow leaders in July, but Old Coyote has stated that the meeting was very one sided. The tribe claims the EPA merely told them of the regulations without seeking any input or trying to find a middle ground. If this is true, and the EPA did not properly discuss the new plan with the Crow nation, then the tribe could have grounds to try and get around the new rules. However, as it currently stands it seems the restrictions are going to go into effect, despite protests. 17 attorney generals are also fighting against the regulations.