(Hardin) The Montana Coal Board met last week in Hardin and awarded numerous grants into Southeastern Montana.   “We are very appreciative and certainly excited to have been awarded these funds which will bring additional assistance to communities that have been impacted by coal,” stated Jim Atchison, Executive Director of Southeastern Montana Development (SEMDC).

Four (4) Applications that SEMDC was involved with were awarded $880,068.  “SEMDC directly assisted three of the four and supported the fourth application,” noted Atchison.

“This is an excellent state program for returning limited dollars back to coal impacted communities to improve the quality of life,” he added.  Applicants awarded funds were:

* City of Colstrip: $500,000 for a portion of a major waste water rehabilitation project,

* City of Miles City: $166,118 to assist with an airport runway paving project,

* Treasure County: $73,950 to help purchase a new ambulance and

* Town of Hysham: $140,000 to assist in paying for replacement of the town’s water tower.

Atchison also gave credit to the area state legislators in securing these addition Coal Board funds during the session.  “Senator Ankney and Representatives Berry and Custer were key drivers and supporters during the legislative session in which HB-228 was passed,” Atchison noted.  “These funds give the Coal Board additional leverage to assist these communities.”

SEMDC is a regional non-profit economic development group that was established in 1997 to stimulate and encourage economic activity in the four (4) Counties of Custer, Powder River, Rosebud, and Treasure.  Today, SEMDC continues to work with the private, public, and non-profit sectors to help create and retain jobs in these four counties.  Their track record has documented over 986 jobs created or retained and over $35 million dollars in project assistance since 1997.  Since 2005, SEMDC has been designated by the State of Montana as a Certified Regional Development Corporation (CRDC) and the federal Economic Development Administration (EDA) as an Economic Development District.