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Breaking news: Obama says feds will pay all eligible Rocky Boy recovery costs

 

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The federal government will pay all the costs for flood recovery at Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation.

President Barack Obama Friday afternoon ordered that the federal government pick up the entire tab of the rehabilitation.

The presidential declaration will save "millions of dollars" to the Chippewa Cree Tribe, said Jonathan Windy Boy, vice chairman of the Tribal Council and a state senator from Box Elder.

Under his earlier declaration, the president committed the government to paying 75 percent The Tribe would have had to pay the rest, Windy Boy said.

According to a 1970s attorney general finding, the state is prohibited from picking up any of the cost.

But in a letter delivered to the President during a bill ceremony in Washington, D.C., last month, Windy Boy implored that the federal government pick up all of the eligible costs.

Having to pick up rehabilitation costs would have meant other programs at the reservation, which is already operating on a tight budget, would have to be cut back or eliminated, Windy Boy said.

"We would have to have robbed from Peter to pay Paul," he said.

Obama signed the declaration after floods in late May and then again in mid-June caused extensive damage to roads, water systems and homes in the reservation.

The health clinic sustained major damage, and it is unclear whether it will ever reopen.

Obama's declaration on Friday affects only the reservation, not other parts of Hill County that sustained damage in the floods.

(Check for updates throughout the weekend. For full details, read Monday's Havre Daily News.)

 
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