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Fix the compact before it’s law

Editor,

Have you ever noticed that intimate lovers of the CSKT Compact, like Erb from Moiese, never quote any appendices, or even a page from their beloved compact, then, they ask in writing your proof. Well, here we go. Now and for a few years, some very talented people have been dissecting the CSKT compact to see what’s acceptable – 2,100 pages compared to 19 pages from the Crow Compact - takes time.

1. You all remember the way the compact passed the legislature in 2015. Rules were changed to get this flawed legislation out of committee. There were 15 amendments added in committee, to put safeguards in the compact for the Irrigators of Flathead Project, and citizens of Montana, from the far reaching appendices and law, the compact puts in place. These amendments were struck, and Montana was told to pass “as is or else.” Simply to start, bring this compact, if it’s so great, back to the Montana legislature and let them do their job, “look out for Montana citizens.”

2. In the compact, it talks about if you as an irrigator want irrigation water, you have to sign a consensual agreement with the Project and Tribe. In 1926 and in 1948, your irrigation districts signed an agreement with the United States for you to receive irrigation, stock, 50,000 ac ft of water to pump from the Flathead River, cheap pumping power, domestic use, and more. This wordage is on your land patents. For this, promise of irrigation water, they took first lien on your land. On tribal land, the liens were forgiven. Why should anybody have to sign an agreement you have already, “and meet their requirements?”

3. Looking through appendices, about river diversions, and here’s a troubling example, Moiese will get a 20,000 ac ft river diversion, on 6,850 ac., that’s about 2.91 ac ft of irrigation water. Most of the rest of the project is about 1.03, “maybe.” Is this why Erb supports the compact? Jocko gets 10,000 ac ft, when over 200,000 flows yearly down the Jocko River. Montana law requires a water compact. Fix this one before it’s the law.

Tim Orr
Mission District Commissioner
St. Ignatius

 

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