Daines pitches land swap to save Montana coal mine

By Hannah Northey | 05/30/2024 01:13 PM EDT

It’s one of a series of bills to promote mining in the Powder River Basin.

Steve Daines and Greg Gianforte.

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte and Sen. Steve Daines during a coal mine visit this week. Office of Sen. Daines

Montana Republican Sen. Steve Daines on Wednesday proposed a federal land swap in hopes of thwarting the closure of a contentious coal mine at the center of an ongoing regulatory and legal battle.

Daines introduced the “Crow Revenue Act,” a bill that would allow a ranching family’s privately held trust to take ownership of reserves that Signal Peak Energy wants to mine.

Specifically, the bill would transfer about 4,660 acres of private subsurface inholdings to the Crow Tribe. That land is currently within the tribe’s reservation and belongs to the Hope family, which has been ranching there for more than a century, according to a fact sheet and other documents from Daines’ office.


In return, more than 4,500 acres of federal subsurface and surface interests in Musselshell County — an area known as the Bull Mountains Tracts — would be transferred to the Hope family.