- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 30, 2015

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - Montana’s Supreme Court has upheld the terms of a water compact between the Crow Indian Tribe and state and federal officials.

The deal authorized federal officials to spend $460 million to construct a water system for the tribe and improve irrigation systems on its arid reservation along the Montana-Wyoming border.

It was signed in 2012 after being previously ratified by the state, Congress and by members of the tribe.

Critics claimed their off-reservation water rights could be harmed under the agreement.

But Chief Justice Mike McGrath wrote in a Wednesday opinion that the critics had failed to prove any harm. He wrote that the Montana Water Court had followed state and federal law in rejecting the objections to the deal.

Four justices concurred. None dissented.

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