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Montana sovereignty threatened

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Editor,

The Montana Water Rights Protection Act was recently introduced to the U.S. Senate as an “amendment” and “fix” to the flawed 2015 Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ Water Compact. 

Senator Dr. Al Olszewski, of Kalispell, who is running for Montana State Governor will not quit fighting for everyone’s rights. Dr. Al understands. He is courageously offering a new solution. The solution to forego any sort of “fix” and to immediately create a Montana water rights defense fund. State sovereignty is clearly under siege. 

Citizens across our great state fear CSKT off-reservation water claims. To allay this fear, U.S. Senator Steve Daines-R and Representative Kerry White-R, Bozeman, console off­reservation citizens of Montana by stating, “The MWRPA protects the water rights of all Montanans and requires the CSKT to permanently relinquish 97 percent of all water rights claims, forever.” Unfortunately, this statement is completely false, dare I say fraudulent. CSKT corporate minutes approved on Jan. 7, 2020, reveal shocking insight. 

Tribal water rights attorney Rhonda Swaney states, “We did not give up 97 percent of our water. The MWRPA will ratify the (2015) compact and the tribal water rights in the (2015) compact. If we accept the settlement under the MWRPA, the Tribes would convey to the state co-ownership of the state’s upper Flathead Basin Rights, but the Tribes retain the same amount of water.” 

Co-ownership is not giving up 97 percent of the water. Enough with political half-truths. Please endorse Dr. Al for governor and Senator Bogner for lieutenant governor this year.

David Passieri 

St. Ignatius 

 

  

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