Northern Cheyenne officials vote against coal railroad plans in southeast Montana

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BILLINGS, Montana — The Northern Cheyenne Tribal Council has voted against the proposed Tongue River Railroad, saying the $403 million project would harm the reservation's cultural sites and resources.

The council voted unanimously Monday for the Surface Transportation Board to take no action on the railroad, which would stretch from Colstrip to Ashland and open southeast Montana to large-scale coal mining in Asia.

The council announced in July that it would further investigate the impacts of the railroad on sacred sites.

BNSF Railway has said that any cultural sites identified would be protected.

According to the council's resolution, the reservation would be negatively impacted and a strain would be placed on resources if the proposal were to move forward.

Comment on an environmental impact report by the transportation board expires Wednesday.

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