AP

Tribe members: Noted bison kill site desecrated by coal mine

Nov 9, 2019, 9:16 AM
This undated recent aerial photo from the Montana State Library shows shows an area of a Westmorela...
This undated recent aerial photo from the Montana State Library shows shows an area of a Westmoreland Energy coal mine near Sarpy Creek in eastern Montana. The graphics, added by the library, show the general area of excavation, framed in red, and a bison bone pile, framed in yellow. When the coal company dug up a huge bison killing grounds on the Crow Indian Reservation with a backhoe to make way for mining, investigators determined the damage violated federal law and would cost $10 million to repair, documents show. But nothing happened - no fines, no repairs and no compensation. (Montana State Library via AP)
(Montana State Library via AP)

SARPY CREEK, Montana (AP) — When a coal company used a backhoe to dig up a huge bison killing ground on the Crow Indian Reservation in 2011 to make way for mining, investigators found the damage violated federal law and would cost $10 million to repair.

But documents obtained by The Associated Press and interviews with investigators show nothing happened.

There were no fines and no repairs. Westmoreland Energy is still mining as it awaits federal approval for repairs to the site where Native Americans killed bison for centuries.

A Bureau of Indian Affairs spokeswoman says a civil violation notice was issued last year but would not provide details.

Westmoreland executive Joe Micheletti says no penalty is involved.

The 2,000-year-old southeastern Montana held countless bison bones and more than 3,300 stone tools and spear points.

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Tribe members: Noted bison kill site desecrated by coal mine