"In Montana’s Indian Country, Tribes Take Opposite Sides On Coal"

"LAME DEER, Montana - U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Vice President Mike Pence took a horseback tour in May of a Montana coal mine belonging to the Crow Nation. They posed for photos with tribal leaders and declared an end to the U.S. government’s “war on coal.”

The trip annoyed leaders of the neighboring Northern Cheyenne - a Native American tribe that chooses not to mine its coal reserves for environmental reasons. Zinke's department had ignored their requests for a meeting before its March decision to lift a coal-mining moratorium on federal lands, tribal leaders said.

The Crow and Northern Cheyenne live miles apart but stand on opposite sides of U.S. President Donald Trump’s pro-energy agenda. Their differences reflect a broader divide on drilling and mining among America’s 567 federally recognized tribes.

While Native American lands cover 2 percent of the U.S. surface, they have been estimated to contain a fifth of the nation’s remaining petroleum, along with vast coal reserves - making them a key part of Trump’s effort to boost domestic production."

Valerie Volcovici reports for Reuters August 21, 2017.

Source: Reuters, 08/22/2017