CASPER, Wyo. — A Navajo tribal company has reached an agreement that would allow the U.S. government to enforce environmental laws at recently acquired mining properties in Tennessee.
Navajo Transitional Energy Company has agreed to a limited waiver of sovereign immunity, the company announced Tuesday.
As a tribal entity, NTEC normally would be able to claim sovereign immunity and avoid being taken to court. That would prevent government agencies from suing the company to enforce environmental laws at the Tennessee mining properties it acquired following the bankruptcy of Gillette-based Cloud Peak Energy in 2019.
NTEC’s limited waiver of sovereign immunity agreement with the U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement would allow the federal agency to enforce laws including the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act at the properties, the Casper Star-Tribune reports.
In the West, NTEC has been operating as a contract miner since purchasing the Antelope and Cordero Rojo mines in Wyoming and the Spring Creek mine in Montana but seeks state permits for the mines.