Tell Interior Sec. Haaland to stand up to the criminally-convicted Signal Peak Energy

Signal Peak Energy is the operator of the Bull Mountains Mine No.1, Montana’s only underground coal mine. Its track record of criminal activity ranges from money laundering, violating worker safety standards, illegally dumping hazardous mine waste, and even firearm and drug violations. Right now, the coal mine owners are violating federal law by failing to effectively replace and reclaim damaged land and water sources. In addition to the company’s reckless disregard for the law, the coal burned from this mine would make it the largest single source of climate pollution in the United States, according to a recent federal court ruling. Whether you live in the Bull Mountains, Montana, or anywhere in the world, the repercussions of Signal Peak’s actions impact us all. At Northern Plains, we believe that it is unacceptable for a coal mine to operate in such a reckless manner.

Read more about Signal Peak’s criminal misdeeds in this New York Times article.

Take action NOW and sign this petition to tell the Secretary Haaland to halt Signal Peak’s operations until it can prove its ability to operate lawfully and without harm to the health and safety of our communities, our resources, and our climate.

Petition:

Dear Secretary Haaland,
 
We, the undersigned, are writing to urge you to halt Signal Peak Energy’s operations at the Bull Mountains Mine north of Billings, Montana. This company has engaged in habitual criminal activity, well-documented corruption, and repeated violations of health and safety standards. Right now, the coal mine owners are violating federal law by failing to effectively replace and reclaim damaged land and water sources. In addition to the company’s reckless disregard for the law, the coal burned from this mine would make it the largest single source of climate pollution in the United States, according to a recent federal court ruling. You have likely seen the recent New York Times article, A Faked Kidnapping and Cocaine: A Montana Mine’s Descent Into Chaos, documenting Signal Peak’s history of reckless behavior and harassment of local landowners.
 
The mission of the Department of Interior (DOI) is to protect and manage the United States’ natural resources. DOI notes in its statement of priorities that the department “increases environmental protections” and “pursues environmental justice,” clearly stating the urgent need to address climate change.
 
“We have no time to waste in taking action to protect public lands, the environment and Americans’ lives and futures,” DOI’s statement says. “Interior is ready to take the bold action desperately needed to ensure all communities — including communities of color and urban, rural, and Indigenous communities — benefit from an aggressive and whole-of-government response.” We admire and applaud these priorities.
 
Given the material damages that Signal Peak Energy has and will continue to inflict on our land, water, air, and climate – combined with the company’s continual affronts to ethical standards and local livelihoods – allowing this corrupt enterprise to proceed with mining operations would be a clear failure to stand by DOI’s mission, priorities, and statutory obligations.
 
Secretary Haaland, we are confident that you are sincere and steadfast in your commitment to uphold DOI’s values. Given the expanse of your department’s portfolio, we understand that not every issue is elevated to your desk. To that point, efforts have been made to work with relevant lower offices within DOI to address Signal Peak’s malfeasance.
 
In August 2022, a coalition of concerned organizations filed a Citizen Complaint to the Montana Department of Environmental Quality and the DOI’s Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE). This complaint detailed the legal violations and criminal convictions of Signal Peak as well as the disturbing and expansive history of corruption and illicit activities attributed to each of Signal Peak’s parent companies.
 
Unfortunately, OSMRE did little more than shrug its shoulders in response. While OSMRE issued a notice requiring minor administrative corrections, your subordinates took no further action to hold Signal Peak accountable for imperiling the livelihood of local landowners who have been repeatedly harassed by the mine even as their land is broken and their springs go dry due to mining activity.
A second Citizen Complaint was filed in December 2022 detailing the damage and destruction done by Signal Peak to local water sources as well as the harassment and intimidation to local landowners. This second complaint was also sent to your office.
 
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has stepped up to take action, and its findings regarding Signal Peak’s criminal misdeeds are nothing short of outrageous. DOJ’s federal corruption investigation into Signal Peak resulted in “not only worker safety and environmental misdemeanor convictions, but also in individual convictions and charges for some former mine officials and associates for embezzlement, tax evasion, bank fraud, money laundering, drugs and firearms violations,” as noted in the DOJ statement.
 
While we believe the Department of Justice has only scratched the surface of criminal activity by Signal Peak and its owners, we applaud them for taking some initial action. On the other hand, the agencies within DOI have simply turned a blind eye to Signal Peak’s history of statutory violations thus far. This is why we are asking you, Secretary Haaland, to take action as the individual ultimately responsible for upholding the mission, priorities, and obligations of the United States Department of Interior.
 
Please halt Signal Peak’s operations for the Bull Mountains Mine until it can prove its ability to operate lawfully and without harm to the health and safety of our communities, our resources, and our climate. The public’s confidence in the proper health and functioning of our democratic, governmental institutions is at stake.

Petition to Secretary Deb Haaland

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Tell DEQ not to renew Signal Peak’s mining permit

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