Taxin’ Russell Fagg’s Coal Tax Lambasted by Westmoreland, Now Considering Bankruptcy

Brooke BainumNews

Fagg’s “Terribly Unwise” Tax Could Have Doubled Taxes on Montana Coal Companies, Stifled Coal Development

Helena – A new report from the Billings Gazette showed that Westmoreland Coal is considering bankruptcy – the company owns three mines in Montana: the Savage Mine; the Rosebud Mine, which powers the Colstrip power plant; and the Absaloka Mine, which accounts for a large amount of the Crow Tribe’s income.

In the state legislature, ethically challenged Russell Fagg sponsored legislation – which faced massive opposition from Westmoreland and the Native American community – that would likely have led to “double taxation” of coal produced in Indian Country.

The former president of Westmoreland Resources heavily criticized Fagg’s bill, saying it would place his coal company “between a rock and a hard place,” going on to say that “there won’t be any coal development” and “the economic burden…would fall on the Crow Tribe.”

The Crow Tribe said implementing Fagg’s bill was “a terribly unwise thing to do,” would cause “enormous disruption” for the Tribe, result in significant job loss, and throw “tribal members into despair and poverty.”

Westmoreland recently warned of “a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows,” which based on his record of backing anti-coal policies that would squash jobs, wouldn’t bother Fagg.

“Taxin’ Russell Fagg’s coal tax could’ve caused major harm to Montana’s coal industry and crippling job loss, particularly in Indian Country,” said Brooke Bainum, spokesperson for the Montana Democratic Party. “This kind of harebrained scheme shows Fagg’s issues don’t stop at his two federal ethics complaints; he seemingly has no problem with policies that would hurt Montana’s workers, families, and Native Americans.”

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