Northern Cheyenne coal swap goes back to Congress


BILLINGS, Mont. - Northern Cheyenne tribal leaders are seeking to revive a three-way coal swap involving the federal government and a Texas company after an earlier proposal stumbled in Congress.

U.S. Rep. Steve Daines introduced a measure on behalf of the tribe Tuesday that calls for the government to turn over an estimated 112 million tons of publicly-owned coal to Houston-based Great Northern Properties.

The company would transfer to the tribe an estimated 117 million tons of coal lying beneath its southeastern Montana reservation.

The swap would fix a mistake made in 1900, when the government expanded the reservation but failed to acquire the underlying minerals.

An earlier version of the bill from now-retired Sen. Max Baucus stalled because it would have given Great Northern more coal than the tribe received.

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