ATTENTION FLATHEAD IRRIGATION PROJECT IRRIGATORS:
We received word yesterday that the referendum vote of irrigators will move forward. Ballots will be mailed out on Monday November 4th and must be returned to the Lake County Elections Office no later than Tuesday November 19th.
Newly appointed District Court Judge Manley issued an order to deny the injunction to stop the irrigator referendum and lifted the order of abeyance. He said:
The Court must also consider that, if the preliminary injunction were to issue, it would effectively strip the FJBC of its ability to seek input and involvement of the affected water users in the decision whether to withdraw from FJBC, because of the December 12, 2013 date for withdrawal of the Districts from FJBC. Balancing the interests, this Court should encourage more rather than less participation of the affected property owners.”
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This referendum is asking irrigators if they would like to keep the Joint Board of Control as the united representative of all fee land irrigators. YOUR VOTE ON THIS REFERENDUM IS URGENTLY IMPORTANT.
This action was necessary because two commissioners each from the Jocko and Mission Districts support the present Compact and Water Use Agreement. In an effort to push the existing compact forward, and in spite of pleas from their constituents, in early September they gave 90 day notice to withdraw their districts from the Joint Board.
Common sense would dictate that important decisions such as this should be decided by a vote of irrigators, but these commissioners have refused to seek approval for their action by holding such a vote.
Instead, the Joint Board is conducting this referendum to ask project irrigators if they support the board and its efforts to develop an irrigation agreement that we can all live with. Over the summer, the board identified three areas of concern with the current water use agreement that require further discussion with the Tribe and the Federal Government:
- the ownership of the irrigation water right,
- the verification of the proposed irrigation water quantities and
- the Unitary Management Ordinance
We believe that the vast majority of irrigators agree that the Joint Board is doing the job irrigators expect them to do, and while this vote is non-binding, it will give a clear mandate concerning the direction of the Joint Board of Control.
The compact and water use agreement are forever documents. We only get one chance to get this right. Let’s do all we can to make sure that happens.
We ask you to support the Joint Board by voting “Yes” when you receive your ballot.
Don’t not let these four commissioners use the divide and conquer strategy to weaken the voice of irrigators or attempt to force the Compact and Water Use agreement on you. Vote to support the Joint Board.
Ballots are due back to the Lake County Elections Office no later than Tuesday November 19, 2013.
FLATHEAD JOINT BOARD OF CONTROL OF THE FLATHEAD, MISSION, AND JOCKO VALLEY IRRIGATION DISTRICTS REFERENDUM TO DECIDE WHETHER THESE DISTRICTS SHOULD REMAIN UNITED UNDER THE FJBC.
Shall the FJBC continue to represent all fee land irrigators, in light of its decision that the current Flathead Project proposed Water Use Agreement should be revised to reach a water rights settlement that secures the ownership of the irrigation water right for irrigators, and verifies that the amount of water available for irrigation will remain the same, and that the State of Montana should administer its use as it administers water uses elsewhere in the state?
An affirmative vote will indicate you agree with these FJBC positions regarding ownership of the irrigation water right, verification of its volume, and administration of its use and you are in favor of retaining the FJBC and its advocacy of these positions.
A negative vote will indicate you are against the FJBC’s positions regarding ownership of the irrigation water right, verification of its volume, and administration of its use and you are against retaining the FJBC and its advocacy of these positions.
FOR retaining the FJBC as the united representative of all fee land irrigators.
AGAINST retaining the FJBC as the united representative of all fee land irrigators.
CONTACT THE FLATHEAD JOINT BOARD OF CONTROL OFFICE AT 745-2090 WITH ANY QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE.