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Compact negotiations were not ‘back-door’

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Elaine Willman owes DNRC Director John Tubbs an apology. In her Jan. 2 Valley Journal letter, she claimed that he failed to “mention that the ‘public’ was voiceless and clueless about any of the back-door, cloak/dagger ‘negotiations’ until about 2012.” Even worse, after initially referring to him as a “Court Jester,” she doubled down on her personal attack and referred to him and his DNRC superiors as “Jackboot Bureaucrats.”

Having participated in most compact negotiating sessions, I can personally attest to the open character of the CSKT-Montana Compact process and the fact that public participation was encouraged. Following many years of public information meetings, Compact negotiations began in earnest in late 2007.

Beginning in January 2008, Compact negotiating sessions were held on a regular, almost monthly basis. After five years of negotiation, a Compact agreement was reached in early 2013 and submitted to the legislature. That version of the Compact failed to make it out of committee. Open public Compact negotiations resumed in September 2014 and produced the Compact that was approved in the 2015 legislative session.

I will reserve my final judgment about the so-called “People’s Compact” until more details come out, including information about how and when that “compact” was negotiated and what “people” were involved. But Willman’s apparent involvement in the process and her vicious personal attack on John Tubbs reveals a lot about the touchy-feely “mending fences” part of the so-called “People’s Compact.”

Dick Erb

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