Crow Tribe's $7B Coal Project Stalls, Draws Suit

Seal of the Crow Tribe
Seal of the Crow Tribe

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - A federal judge in Delaware has scheduled a hearing next week on a request by a Texas-based investment group to prevent a Montana tribe from backing out of a proposed $7 billion coal-to-liquid fuels project.

According to a lawsuit filed this week by Australian-American Energy Co., the Crow Tribe claims it is entitled to terminate the project agreement because AAEC has failed to make minimum annual expenditures.

AAEC says conditions needed to support its continued investment in the project, including the tribe's execution of a water rights lease, have not been met, and that the tribe had no grounds to send a termination notice. It wants a temporary injunction until an arbitrator is appointed.

Tribal leaders warned last year the proposed Montana reservation project could founder without more federal support.

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