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NTEC Takes Possession of Cloud Peak Assets, Spring Creek Hampered by DEQ

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Cloud Peak Energy filed a revised plan and disclosure statement yesterday in federal bankruptcy court in Delaware, allowing Navajo Transitional Energy Company (NTEC) to take possession of Antelope and Cordero Rojo mines in Wyoming and Spring Creek in Montana.

NTEC has maintained throughout the process that they would retain the entire workforce at the newly purchased properties and strive to make the transition in ownership seamless.

“With the acquisition of these mines, NTEC is thrilled to become a neighbor and important employer in Montana and Wyoming,” said NTEC President and CEO Clark Moseley in a press release.  “We look forward to working with the existing team of 1,200 employees and implementing our exceptional record of safety, reclamation, and community partnership in the Powder River Basin.”

According to the release, while the transition has gone smoothly in Wyoming, Spring Creek Mine has been shut down by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). At issue is sovereign immunity, which states a government cannot be sued without its consent, according to Cornell Law School.

Last week Montana DEQ demanded a full and complete waiver of NTEC’s sovereign immunity. NTEC, a Navajo Nation owned company, had earlier agreed to a partial waiver, allowing the Spring Creek operation to be regulated by Montana law.

“We are shocked and disappointed that the state is taking this position and putting the future of Spring Creek at risk,” said NTEC Chairman Tim McLaughlin, in the same release. “We have done everything in our power to ensure [Montana] that we will operate under their laws, but we simply cannot consent to a full waiver of the rights preserved in our treaties.”