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Oct 15, 2013 - The Associated Press

Wyo.-Mont. fight to court

BILLINGS, Mont. -- A legal clash over water rights on the arid Northern Plains is bound for trial as attorneys for Montana press their case that Wyoming farmers and oil and gas companies are sucking too much water from tributaries of the Yellowstone River.

Montana sued its southern neighbor before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2007. It claims Wyoming is violating a 1950 agreement by depleting the Tongue and Powder rivers before they flow north into Montana.

More than six years later, the civil trial set to start Wednesday in a federal courtroom in Billings will determine if Wyoming should be held liable.

While water losses for all years have not been quantified, attorneys for Montana claim the state was unfairly denied 10,160 acre feet of water during several years of drought in the past decade. That's equivalent to more than 3.3 billion gallons of water.

The special master in the case, Stanford Law School Professor Barton Thompson, signaled in a ruling last month that he will at least give Montana the chance to make its argument.

Murder case moves ahead

CHEYENNE -- A judge has ordered a Cheyenne man accused of killing his wife to answer a charge of first-degree murder in district court.

Laramie County Circuit Judge Catherine Rogers on Friday ordered 31-year-old Christopher Town of Cheyenne bound over to district court.

Town is accused of shooting 29-year-old Crystal Town with a handgun on Oct. 2.

An arrest report says Christopher Town called police and said he had shot his wife. Officers found her dead when they arrived at a residence.

Suit filed on coal taxation

BILLINGS, Mont. -- Montana tax authorities are seeking $3.4 million from a Wyoming coal company that used a scrutinized practice to determine the taxes it paid on coal sales from one of the largest mines in the country.

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