Hardin resident lauds Matt Rosendale’s support for Crow coal

Letter to the Editor
Thursday, August 30, 2018

As a retired lawyer who fought many battles for the Crow Indians, I have watched Obama’s war on coal, especially because it is hurting my friends in the Crow Tribe.

I understand that in 2015, the Crow proposed a new coal mine, the Big Metal Mine, which would produce three times more coal than their existing and failing Absaloka Mine at Sarpy. They further proposed to sell this new coal to Asia by shipping it to the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal in the State of Washington. This shows real promise and hope for Crow members.

But the Army Corps of Engineers, under the Obama Administration, rejected the Crows’ application for this port. This Obamainspired rejection was completely consistent with Hillary’s declaration that she would put coal miners and coal companies out of work.

Then, a few weeks ago, I heard on the radio that the State of Washington opposed the Crow proposal. When Senate candidate Matt Rosendale voiced his support for the Gateway Pacific Terminal, Sen. Jon Tester responded by saying the State of Washington – as an exercise of states’ rights – had every right to reject the terminal.

Tester – who, to my knowledge, has never supported states’ rights before – would violate the U.S. Constitution, as would the State of Washington. Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution not only denies Washington State of power over Crow coal moving from Montana to Asia, via Washington State (interstate commerce), but this clause also gives U.S. Congress the sole power to “regulate commerce within the Indian Tribes.”

In plain language, the State of Washington has no power to prevent the Crow Tribe from constructing a port for export of Crow coal to Asia. Yet, Washington illegally blocks the Crow and Tester purports that “states’ rights” give Washington power over the Crow Tribe.

Voters in November – not only the Crows, but all of us who benefit from the great coal industry in eastern Montana – have a clear choice: Vote Tester, who would put coal miners and coal companies out of work; or vote Rosendale, who would revive coal and enable the Crows to sell their coal throughout Asia, reaping great profits for the Crows and, indirectly, all of us.

What do we have to lose? Rosendale and Trump might help us. What has 12 years of Tester given us for coal?

Clarence Belue

Hardin

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