After a visit Friday to a Crow Indian mine in Montana managed by Westmoreland Coal, Vice President Mike Pence emphatically declared that the “war on coal is over.”
“(O)n behalf of the president of the United States, I’m here to announce that the war on coal is over,” he said during an appearance at Westmoreland Coal’s offices, KRTV reported.
“The president truly believes that American energy drives American prosperity and means American jobs, and we’re going to continue to work with all of you,” the vice president added.
“I would rather produce energy here than be held hostage overseas and have to go to war overseas,” added Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who accompanied Pence on his visit.
The mine they visited was owned by the Crow tribe but leased to Westmoreland. Moreover, the mines operated by Westmoreland were crucial not only to the tribe — where some miners earn more than $70,000 per year — but also to the whole region, according to the tribe’s vice chairman, Carlson “Duke” Goes Ahead.
“Our coal has impacted all the surrounding areas, Billings, Hardin; it impacts their economies, too,” he told the Billings Gazette.
“There is tremendous potential here, and it’s a life-blood right now for the Crow tribe,” said Sen. Steve Daines, who was also present for the trip.
“I’ll tell ya,” he added, “It’s lights out for the Crow tribe if we lose these coal jobs here.”
As long as President Donald Trump and Vice President Pence remain in office, however, the tribe, Westmoreland Coal and the many who work there should have the opportunity to remain gainfully employed — something that we certainly couldn’t say during the previous administration.
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