“But we all know how it goes. You guys move in, one side benefits and the other side doesn’t.” Northern Cheyenne tribal member, Otter Creek Scoping Hearing, February 2013 Back in the 1970’s and 1980’s, things were booming down in southeastern Montana. The Colstrip coal plant was under construction, coal mines were being dug, oil was being drilled. But things weren’t booming for everyone. Yes, local, state and federal governments raked in tax revenues and royalties. Traveling workers were brought in for construction jobs. Money was filling the…

During the 2011 Exxon oil spill on the Yellowstone River, I was simultaneously told by our public health officials and Exxon that the oil covering my farm was not dangerous to my health but I should stay away from the oil. Two days after the spill I went to the hospital with nausea, headache, fatigue, dizziness and all that good stuff that comes along with inhaling hydrocarbons. When coal mines use explosives to loosen up coal seams in coal mines, sometimes a nitric oxide orange cloud forms. They tell residents…

Last fall, I was a hunting failure. It’s not because I’m a bad shot or I because don’t know how to find the critters. It’s because of the Tongue River Railroad Company (owned by Burlington Northern Santa Fe, billionaire Forrest Mars and struggling coal company Arch Coal). Let me put a caveat in here. My season wasn’t a complete failure. If it wasn’t for a rancher friend on the Tongue River who took pity on me, it might have been a complete failure. I was able to get…

I imagine that if you don’t know me very well you wonder how or why I’m sending you emails about the proposed Otter Creek coal mine and Tongue River Railroad that will cut through the heart of southeastern Montana. I often wonder if my emails get opened or if, like many Americans, you are bombarded with so many that despite your best intentions it remains unopened or put in the trash right away. You’re busy. You have your own shit to worry about. You have your own places to save. You already…