Gov. Stitt, Federal Government Face Off In Court Over Coal Mining Rights On Tribal Land


Thursday, December 2nd 2021, 7:16 am


Governor Kevin Stitt and his administration are facing off against the US government in federal court over coal mining rights on tribal land. 

This lawsuit could have major implications on whether the US Supreme Court's McGirt decision stretches beyond criminal cases on tribal land. 

Governor Stitt and the state are suing the federal government over what they call federal overreach. 

This summer, the US Department of the Interior notified the state that based on the Mcgirt decision it was planning to strip Oklahoma's jurisdiction to regulate surface coal mining inside the Muscogee Nation. 

Stitt says he believes the McGirt ruling only applies to criminal jurisdiction, and the Biden administration is breaking the law by trying to expand it. 

"This is the first example of the Biden administration, a federal agency, coming in and expanding this to civil regulation," Stitt previously said. 

The Governor also says numerous steps are required before the federal government can take over a state program, Stitt says none of those were followed. 

The lawsuit says if the federal plan sticks, the Oklahoma Department of Mines and the Oklahoma Conservation Commission will have to lay off employees and the state will lose millions of dollars in grant money. 

Thursday's hearing starts at one in the afternoon. News 9 will be following any updates.