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High court hears Montana dam dispute

Supreme Court hears dispute over Montana dams that reaches back to Lewis and Clark expedition By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) ' A Supreme Court dominated by Easterners is trying to make sense of a Western water dispute.

The court heard arguments Wednesday in a lawsuit between a power company and the state of Montana over who owns the riverbeds beneath 10 Montana dams.

The state says it's owed more than $50 million in back rent and interest from the power company, PPL Montana.

The court is looking back as far as the travels of Lewis and Clark more than 200 years ago for an answer.

The outcome of the case could affect property rights, public access and wildlife management along Montana's rivers, as well as those in other states.

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