Today, October 20, the state of Montana reached a settlement agreement with the Crow Tribe over disputed coal taxes. Montana Attorney General Tim Fox says the disagreement has been lingering for decades.

"Back in 1978, the Crow Tribe sued the state of Montana because the state had for some time been collecting severance taxes on coal that was mined in what we call the seeded strip and that coal belonged to the Crow Tribe," said Fox. "Ultimately, this case went up to the United States Supreme Court on more than two occasions."

Fox says the settlement agreement came at a very critical time for the Crow Tribe’s coal industry.

"We signed that settlement," Fox said. "The tribe will get $15 million for economic development and water and sewer infrastructure projects. It comes at a real critical time for the tribe because President Obama and his war on coal has really hurt the coal industry. They have had to layoff a lot of people and they have about 47% unemployment. This will be a real shot in the arm for members of the Crow Tribe."

There is still some paperwork to do on the settlement, but Fox says the 15 million dollars of economic development funds should be available to the Crow Tribe before the end of the year.

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