© 2015 Concerned Citizens of Western Montana
We would like to be begin this article by saying to those supporters of the compact who are reading, WE ARE NOT GOING AWAY.
Having been given the gift in 2013 of two more years to study and research the details of the water compact as well as historical documents, court records, and other information, we can say for certain that the more you look at it, the worse it is.
There is no victory for proponents, unless you call victory making a mockery out of the legislative process in order to ram an illegal and unconstitutional document through the legislature, very likely in an unconstitutional manner.
It is still difficult to wrap one’s mind around the fact that the “leadership” of the state of Montana willingly took western Montanans off the compact cliff by putting all of their political capital and state resources behind its passage.
But not to worry, Attorney General Fox looked at the compact and gave it his blessing and all important stamp of approval. Governor Bullock has repeatedly called it a” fair agreement”, ignoring the details of the compact. We also know that these men actively participated in placing pressure on legislators to secure its questionable passage in the legislature.
Make no mistake. The governor and the attorney general of the state of Montana knew exactly what they were doing. They also are fully aware of the huge burden they have placed upon the shoulders of citizens in the most economically depressed areas of Montana.
The reality of this water compact is simple. It gives the Federal Government and the CSKT control over the waters of western Montana. As we have always maintained and still do, the state of Montana ceded to the CSKT and Feds their wildest dreams come true, and then created a narrative that it “protects” all existing uses except for irrigation in order to ratify the compact in the legislature.
Protects water users from what? The fact that the state gave away all of their water?
Even with a multimillion dollar media blitz funded with taxpayer dollars, a cadre of lobbyists and all kinds of good old boy arm twisting and prodding, enough legislators were awakened and concerned to make it a very close vote. But pass it they did. Perhaps.
It cannot go unnoticed that many of Montana’s elected officials willingly participated in the railroading of this compact through they system, and that they cared not how it was accomplished.
Last year the CSKT tribal minutes gave us the first heads up concerning how this would all play out in the legislature. This came to light through the ego and arrogance of one senator Bruce Tudvedt who spilled the beans to the tribe last year, and his words were duly noted in the tribal council minutes dated May 22, 2014:
Sandy Welch and Bruce Tutvedt, Republican Senator from Senate District 3; discussed the PAC – Republicans for Responsible Government. They thanked the tribal council for providing funding to cover some of the costs of the upcoming campaign. Senator Tutvedt stated for the record, I’ve written in the newspaper that I’m for the water compact. I am solidly one of the largest irrigators in Flathead County so I have skin in the game just like you do. If you’ve read the newspaper state-wide, I’ve been in the Western Montana Stock Growers, with people complaining about me supporting the compact so I’ve been throughout the state. I’m an AGR. We have a core commitment of people. I worked with Senator Llew Jones when we were working and worked on a compromise to try to get some money to show our good faith. I know Llew was instrumental in getting the Blackfoot compact. I have a core team that’s ready to go and Dan Salomon is working with some core members too. There is a true group of people that want to do the right thing because it’s the right reasons. This is a good agreement. I think you’ve negotiated robustly but fairly. And if my guys win we’re going to bring the compact in early in the session and just put it through. We have a plan in place how to fix that 60 vote problem in the house. Dan has that plan figured out. So there is a plan going on. This is an issue that will even affect how the key leadership in the house will play out. So yes we are committed and yes, it’s going to happen. So thank you.”
Let this sink in. More to come.