Crow, Montana Settle Dispute Over Taxing Coal Owned by Tribe

State agrees to turn coal revenue over to the tribe in the future

By Justin Franz

HELENA — The Crow Indian tribe and the state of Montana have settled litigation going back 38 years over whether the state can tax coal that is owned by the tribe.

Under the settlement signed Thursday, the state does not surrender its power to collect severance tax on the coal taken from the Westmoreland Coal Company’s Absaloka mine near Hardin.

However, the state agreed that if it collects taxes in the future, it will turn the revenue over to the tribe.

Montana does not currently collect severance tax from the coal mine because the tribe is already doing so.

The settlement also calls for the state to give the tribe $15 million it agreed to under a 2012 Montana Water Rights Compact if the tribe gives up its appeals for the past tax revenue collected by the state.

Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.