Gov. Steve Bullock says $200,000 in emergency energy assistance funding will be released to eligible families on three Montana Indian reservations hit hard this winter.
State health department spokesman Jon Ebelt says state officials have received reports of hardship among some residents of the Blackfeet, Fort Belknap and Northern Cheyenne reservations.
"What we’ve heard specifically is extra-high heat bills that have just caused stress on their abilities to pay those bills, or purchase more propane or firewood," Ebelt says.
In addition, officials with all three of the Tribal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Programs say they have already or will soon exhaust their crisis funds due to the increased need.
Blackfeet Tribal Chairman Harry Barnes says the energy assistance funding is timely and much appreciated.
Funding for the emergency assistance comes from the federal government.