Federal Government Decides Not to Take $4.2 Million From Montana’s Mineral Lease Act Funds
Earlier this month, the U.S. federal government officially declared that it would be taking millions of dollars that were supposed to go to Montana through the Mineral Leasing Act because of sequestration. Now, Attorney General Tim Fox announces that that is no longer the case.
“I’m just glad to report to Montanans that approximately $2.4 million a year of Montana’s money will now not be withheld by the federal government,” Fox said. “The administration agrees that legally those funds cannot be sequestered and, hopefully, we won’t have to encounter that kind of situation in the future.”
The announcement comes after governors and attorney generals from multiple states protested the original declaration. Fox said the new announcement was due to a “new legal analysis.” That new analysis may have been conducted in response to a letter signed by Fox and others, which threatened possible litigation if the funds weren’t returned.
“This is money that our counties need to fund essential services like roads and bridges, and should not have been targeted in the first place by the federal government as a way to balance the books in Washington,” Fox said.
Fox also said that the the sequestered portion of Montana’s funds will likely be returned to the state in September.