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Montana officials spar over tribal riverbed suit

Montana Attorney General Mike McGrath (D) is challenging Gov. Judy Martz (R) for her decision to join a lawsuit affecting the Northern Cheyenne Tribe.

Martz, who is leaving office in January, joined the lawsuit on behalf the state. A drilling company is seeking to declare that the tribe does not have ownership in the Tongue River riverbed.

McGrath says Martz has no authority to act for the state and has filed a lawsuit against Martz in state court. He and other Democrats opposed the state's involvement in the suit.

Fidelity Exploration & Production Co. claims the state has full ownership of the riverbed. But the federal government says the tribe owns half. Fidelity has drilling leases that could be invalidated if the tribe's ownership is upheld.

Get the Story:
AG asks high court to block Martz's actions over ownership of Tongue River (AP 11/5)

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Montana governor to fight tribe's riverbed rights (10/20)
Montana won't join fight over tribe's riverbed (10/19)