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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 26, 2013 at 7:30 AM

Coal deal between Montana tribe and energy company

Deal is unwise, harmful

An aerial view of pipelines criss-crossing a Powder River Basin coal bed methane field near Gillette, Wy. [(AP Photo/Billings Gazette, Larry Mayer.]

An aerial view of pipelines criss-crossing a Powder River Basin coal bed methane field near Gillette, Wy. [(AP Photo/Billings Gazette, Larry Mayer.]

Will someone please stop the insanity? I read with horror and disbelief that the Crow Tribe of Billings, Mont., has struck a real bowzer of a “deal” in its plans to mine at Powder River Basin, shipping more than 20 million additional tons of coal through Oregon and Washington annually. [“Montana tribe’s coal deal wins government OK,” NW Friday, June 21.]

The economically struggling Crow Tribe anticipates mining jobs and scholarships for its children. 13,000 people stand to benefit from this federally approved agreement. I don’t believe the people in Montana and Wyoming have any idea, however, of the magnitude of the negative impact their greenlighted plan could have on the Pacific Northwest.

Cherry Point, one of two sites in Washington proposed for exporting coal, is home to the Lummi Tribe in Whatcom County, and as a sacred historical site, the Lummi say it is protected by a federally enacted treaty. The Lummi Tribe relies heavily on the local fishing and crabbing industry. This would all be lost and the jobs offered by Gateway Pacific (less than 1,800 to begin with, falling to 294 permanent jobs after construction) would not compensate at all.

We can do better than this sellout “deal.”

Wendy Bartlett, Bellingham

0 Comments | More in Environment, Politics | Topics: cherry point, coal, coal mining

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