BILLINGS – A meeting at the Billings Chamber of Commerce on Friday afternoon focused on concerns over new carbon regulations and how they could impact Montana jobs.
Those new standards would force Montana to reduce carbon emissions and comply with stricter EPA guidelines.
Those on the Crow Reservation call it the “war on coal,” saying the EPA is “playing politics” using the Clean Air Act to sidestep Congress.
What it really boils down to is who gets to call the shots? The states, the tribe, or the federal government? Montana Attorney General Tim Fox and Crow Tribal Leaders believe the EPA has over stepped its bounds.
Coal is the largest source of jobs on the Crow reservation and with unemployment already hovering near 47%, tribal officials fear that number could skyrocket up to 90% as the new EPA regulations impact the market for coal.
The overall concern is that higher energy costs will translate into less jobs. Darrin Old Coyote, the Crow Tribal Chairman said Friday that these new regulations, if implemented, could seriously effect the Crow people.
“This war on coal has been a war on Crow families literally,” said Old Coyote. “Our Crow people rely heavily on jobs out at the mine, they rely on the royalties and revenues that come from coal.”
Fox said Friday that these proposed regulations are a violation of the law, and that they overstep proper boundaries.
“Higher energy costs is a war on the middle class and the poor,” said Fox. “This definitely will have an effect of raising energy costs and the bottom line. I don’t know about you, but most people in Montana try to budget, live within their means, and when you have this kind of onerous overreach by the federal government you can’t plan ahead, and often times you can’t make ends meet.”
Attorney General Fox joined 16 other state attorney generals in filing separate comments on the EPA regulations.
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- On December 8, 2014