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  • Native Americans getting final settlement payments Friday, 19 Sep 2014 | 7:16 AM ET

    Checks ranging from $869 to $10 million were sent beginning Monday to more than 493,000 people by the administrators of the $3.4 billion settlement from a class-action lawsuit filed by Elouise Cobell of Browning, Montana. Some $941 million is being distributed in this second round of payments, plaintiffs' attorney David Smith said Thursday.

  • Oil executive in North Dakota dumping plea deal Thursday, 18 Sep 2014 | 12:44 PM ET

    BISMARCK, N.D.— An oil executive accused of dumping toxic drilling liquid and endangering drinking water for a county in southwest North Dakota has reached an undisclosed plea deal with federal prosecutors, authorities say. Executive Drilling LLC President Nathan Garber is slated to be sentenced Sept. 26 in Bismarck federal court.

  • 'Three Cups of Tea' author plans reluctant return Thursday, 18 Sep 2014 | 9:51 AM ET

    BOZEMAN, Mont.— Greg Mortenson doesn't want to talk about his best-selling "Three Cups of Tea" book, but everybody else does— including his own charity. Three years ago, "60 Minutes" and author Jon Krakauer alleged that Mortenson fabricated much of the book and mismanaged the charity he co-founded, Central Asia Institute.

  • Records: Man urged victim to kill self via webcam Thursday, 18 Sep 2014 | 9:18 AM ET

    BILLINGS, Mont.— A Montana man in prison for raping a girl starting when she was 12 is now charged with trying to persuade her to kill herself by cutting her wrists and taking prescription medication while he watched on a webcam.

  • Montana poverty rate and median income up Thursday, 18 Sep 2014 | 12:02 AM ET

    HELENA, Mont.— Montana's poverty rate increased last year, while median income also rose, according to annual poverty figures released Thursday by the Census Bureau. That growth put the state among the top five— with Alaska, Kentucky, Utah and Wyoming— for the biggest median household income increases between 2012 and 2013..

  • Colorado poverty rate down, median income up Thursday, 18 Sep 2014 | 12:02 AM ET

    DENVER— Colorado's poverty rate dropped slightly last year and median income rose, according to annual poverty figures released Thursday by the Census Bureau. Median household income in Colorado rose 2.4 percent in 2013, to $58,823.

  • Report: More needed to improve oil train safety Wednesday, 17 Sep 2014 | 12:33 PM ET

    BNSF Railway can make immediate safety improvements in the mile-long 100- year-old rail tunnel that runs under downtown Seattle, including installing radio communication, a fire suppression system to release water and foam, and a permanent ventilation system, according to the report written by Barb Graff, who directs the city's office of emergency management, and Seattle assistant fire chief A.D. Vickery.

  • Only 4 states will see cuts to food stamps Wednesday, 17 Sep 2014 | 3:17 AM ET

    WASHINGTON— Cuts to the nation's food stamp program enacted this year are only affecting four states, far from the sweeping overhaul that Republicans had pushed, an Associated Press review has found. As a result, it's unclear whether the law will realize the estimated $8.6 billion in savings over 10 years that the GOP had advertised.

  • US senator to ask Congress to suspend coal sales Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 | 2:05 PM ET

    Ed Markey said the Interior Department moved too slowly on promised reforms since the Democrat raised concerns earlier this year that "bargain-basement" lease sales to a handful of mining companies might have cost taxpayers $200 million or more.

  • Bill Barrett to sell some properties, pay debt Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 | 12:58 PM ET

    NEW YORK— Bill Barrett Corp. announced several deals on Tuesday that will net it about $568 million in cash and help lower its debt. The Denver- based oil and gas company said it is selling properties in the Powder River Basin, which is located in Montana and Wyoming, and the Piceance Basin in Colorado.

  • CALGARY, Alberta, Sept 15- The cost of the South Dakota portion of TransCanada Corp's Keystone XL pipeline has more than doubled to $1.974 billion in the last four years the project has awaited federal approval, the company said in a petition filed with the state Public Utilities Commission on Monday.

  • Corps halts review of Oregon coal export terminal Monday, 15 Sep 2014 | 4:40 PM ET

    PORTLAND, Ore.— The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has brought its review of a proposed coal export terminal to an immediate halt, a blow to the Australian company that's trying to get coal from the Northern Rockies to a hungry Asian market.

  • Montana coal mine deal aims to boost Asian exports Monday, 15 Sep 2014 | 1:56 PM ET

    BILLINGS, Mont.— Coal companies have finalized a deal that consolidates ownership of a Montana mine and gives a Wyoming company an option to export coal through Washington state. Ambre Energy and Cloud Peak Energy announced in a joint statement Monday that the deal involving the 120- worker Decker mine closed Sept. 12.

  • Keystone XL operator seeks South Dakota approval Monday, 15 Sep 2014 | 1:55 PM ET

    SIOUX FALLS, S.D.— The operator of the long-delayed Keystone XL crude oil pipeline on Monday formally asked South Dakota's utility regulators to recertify the portion of the project that runs through the state.

  • WSU regents approve plan for new medical school Friday, 12 Sep 2014 | 4:29 PM ET

    SPOKANE, Wash.— Washington State University's board of regents on Friday unanimously approved the administration's controversial effort to start a new medical school in Spokane, citing the "dire need" for more doctors in the state.

  • Groups sue over oil shipments in older rail cars Thursday, 11 Sep 2014 | 3:32 PM ET

    SEATTLE— Environmental groups sued the U.S. Department of Transportation on Thursday over the shipment of volatile crude oil in older railroad tank cars. That petition sought an emergency order to prohibit crude oil from the Bakken region of North Dakota and Montana and elsewhere from being carried in older tank cars, known as DOT-111s.

  • Montana coal railroad told to turn over documents Thursday, 11 Sep 2014 | 11:55 AM ET

    The 42- mile line would cost an estimated $400 million and provide access to the proposed Otter Creek coal mine near the Wyoming- Montana border. The Tongue River Railroad is co-owned by Otter Creek developer Arch Coal Inc. of St. Louis, BNSF Railway of Fort Worth, Texas, and candy-industry billionaire Forrest Mars Jr..

  • Security clearance contractor to lose gov't work Tuesday, 9 Sep 2014 | 7:52 PM ET

    WASHINGTON— The federal Office of Personnel Management plans to terminate its massive contracts with USIS, the major security clearance contractor that was targeted last month by a cyberattack, agency, congressional and company officials said Tuesday.

  • Court blocks pollution rules for Wyoming plants Tuesday, 9 Sep 2014 | 6:22 PM ET

    Wyoming has proposed less stringent pollution controls on coal-fired power plants than those the EPA says are required to reduce regional haze in national parks and wilderness areas.

  • HELENA, Mont., Sept 4- A top Federal Reserve official on Thursday said he believes U.S. interest rates are too high, and had no "good answer" when asked why the Fed is reducing its efforts to push borrowing costs down.