© 2013 Concerned Citizens of Western Montana
On Tuesday evening the compact commission voted 8-1 in favor of moving the CSKT water compact forward to the legislature. Our sincerest thanks to Senator Debby Barrett who courageously voted no. We also now officialy know where our own local representative Dan Salomon stands. As hard as he tried to convey neutrality to his local constituents, he fooled no one. We know he’s been actively lobbying for it in Helena for months.
The meeting, held Tuesday evening at 7:00 p.m. in Helena, confirmed that the commission was determined to move forward with complete disregard of any constitutional or legal problems with the documents. Three of the four legislators clearly were also not concerned about their oath to uphold the Constitution, and through their participation on the commission and endorsement of the compact, will ultimately have to be held accountable by their constitutents.
After a dissertation from Jay Weiner explaining changes between the November and February versions of the documents, the commission opened the meeting up to comments before they voted to move it forward. The public was told they would not be allowed to talk about the FIP Agreement or the lawsuit, but they did afford everyone the opportunity to sit through a litany of compact supporters busloaded in for the special occasion. As to the local irrigators who testified for it, if we cannot blame their position on being generally misinformed, or uninformed, then we must assume that instead they are fine with relinquishing their own, and and their neighbor’s water rights.
The vote we were told, would use some “technicality of the law” to allow them to ask legislators to vote for an incomplete compact because the state was not party to the FIP Water Use Agreement for irrigators (WINK, WINK). Unless there is some further sleight of hand by the commission, it seems the legislative vote will be made contingent upon a FIP agreement being inserted later. STUNNING! Ask legislators to vote on an incomplete document without seeing or understanding how or if irrigators will have any protections at all, and without debate. Wow! Who’s the genius that came up with that brilliant idea? Oh yes, that would be Chris Tweeten and Jay Weiner, attorneys representing the state.
This is a becoming a trend people should be concerned about. Apparently legislators are expected to vote for something before they or the public can learn what’s in it. In other words vote for legislation, on a FOREVER DOCUMENT, with a big fat blank check included, to be filled in later.
Note: If you’ve been following the compact you are aware that the Western Montana Water Users Association filed a lawsuit in December concerning the irrigator water use agreement. The commission announced the Joint Board filed an appeal to the Montana supreme court and expect the ruling to be overturned, and mentioned the tribe had filed suit of some kind as well. A copy of the amended WMWUA suit, filed on Friday February 22, 2013 can be found at the following link: https://westernmtwaterrights.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/amnded-petition-writ-of-prhbtn-2-22-13-2.pdf