© 2014 Concerned Citizens of Western Montana

Things are heating up quickly for the Flathead water compact.  After two years of quietly traveling around the state with compact proponents to “sell” the existing compact ahead of the 2015 session, compact commission staff are now settling down to business. The compact commission, the governor and attorney general’s offices have shifted gears toward whipping a new document into shape to achieve its passage in the next legislative session.

We recently reported on the September 3, 2014 Negotiation Session.  The compact commission held a second session on October 15th, and will quickly follow with a third meeting in Missoula on Monday October 27, 2014.

It came as no surprise at this week’s meeting, that the public chose to not “participate” in the meeting by commenting on the compact or the so called “negotiations” that are taking place.

Is it because at the meeting on September 3rd, Chris Tweeten made it perfectly clear that no water abstract, not a drop of water would be changed?  In other words, the “negotiations” are pretty much meaningless.  If all goes as planned, the federal government and tribal elite will still still be able to accomplish their objective of controlling the waters of western Montana.

Perhaps instead, people long ago realized that the only useful purpose of public participation and comment was to help the compact commission “bullet proof” the existing bad compact to the detriment of the citizens of Montana.  Regardless of the reasons, the public has essentially stopped participating in the dog and pony shows held by the “negotiating” parties.

With all of that being said, we would like to share with you a video developed by Concerned Citizens of Western Montana last year that discussed the compact commission’s contemptuous treatment of the public.  It was submitted to Attorney General Fox, and you guessed it, was ignored.

We think it serves as a good reminder of a public participation process that has gone awry, and while on paper Montana’s public participation statutes appear strong on paper, they actually mean very little to the bureaucrats that choose to ignore them as best they can.

For the Montana Reserved Water Rights Compact Commission the bar is now so low they no longer need to feign interest in what Montanans think about their “work product”, and Montanans are free to stop playing a game whose rules were rigged against them long ago.