©2015 Concerned Citizens of Western Montana
We learned from an article in the Daily Interlake, and by watching the proceedings of the Water Policy Interim Committee (WPIC, Tuesday June 2, item no. 7, approx 3 hours in), that the state is proceeding full steam ahead in implementing the CSKT Compact. This is in spite of the fact that that the constitutionality of the of the compact vote is in question through litigation.
The two items that are being implemented are:
- The formation of the Compact Implementation Technical Team (CITT) which is appointed by the “parties” (state, Tribe, United States) to start
spending money“planning for adaptive management and project rehabilitation efforts”. The adaptive management, as you recall, is the compact’s experimental measurement and adjustment program to try to get the field data to match the Tribes’ flawed computer model of the project. Measuring devices and headgate control are in our futures.
- Milltown Dam Co-Owned Water Right. This is an off reservation instream flow right on the Clark Fork River held by the state as a FWP flow right for 2,000 cfs which has been allocated and split between two tributaries. This is the “co-owned CSKT-MT FWP water right,” a creature whose legal existence is unknown and uncertain at this time.
Both components of the compact, when implemented immediately, have several key drawbacks, one of which has already drawn a legal challenge and request for injunction.
Some observations regarding these two immediately implemented items include the following:
- The state has used the “drop in the bucket” irrigation rehabilitation promise like they’ve used the 10,000 claims threat–“pass the compact and you’ll get the money, don’t pass it and you won’t”. The truth is, any finished negotiation would have already have these projects identified and funds allocated. You don’t see that anywhere in this half-baked water theft scheme known as the Compact.
- The CSKT itself can’t co-own the water right, it is co-owned by the United States in trust for the CSKT. Can that water right be implemented by the state without the United States approval?
Remember in the Compact debate, nobody said anything about immediate implementation of the Compact–the sponsor didn’t explain it and neither did the Compact Commission. Even the Attorney General’s office, in responding to the FJBC suit, screamed out that the “case was frivolous” because the compact would “not be implemented for years” (note: looks like nobody read the compact, even the AG!).
Compact sponsor and WPIC member Vincent felt the need to explain those pieces of the compact, as if dumfounded that no one read that part of the compact but also realizing he’d not spoken about it either. But I guess that’s the way they do business around there, now isn’t it?
The real Compact will now get exposed and those who supported it are going to be very uncomfortable as more people realize what are so called elected officials have given us. As if on cue, Compact Commission and WPIC member Kathleen Williams was just shocked, shocked, that people didn’t realize the Tribes were going to file their 10,000 claims anyway. In 2013, as sponsor of the compact bill, her “dog in the fight” (her words, not mine) was that she didn’t want the Tribes filing claims on her side of the mountain. Ms. Williams has been an avid supporter of the hoax used to scare and divide Montanans.
Over a two-three year span, the compact was sold to Montana through deception, misinformation, and half-truths. We have identified all the factual items of this compact that they have denied exist. Now all of these half-truths will come out into the light, as the compact proponents have to explain the harsh realities of this Compact to their neighbors and colleagues who they deceived.
The Compact Implementation Watch
Now that the compact proponents think they have it in the bag, they will by their actions and public statements gradually begin to reveal certain details of the Compact that they haven’t shared with others. And in other cases, they will increase their efforts to hide the true impacts of the Compact, especially when asked about the Compacts details on the taking of water rights of the irrigation project.
In general we look forward to
hanging the compact around the neck of politicians who brought us this compact these comments being revealed, and to learning more about how this very bad deal was perpetuated against negotiated on behalf of Montana.
In the meantime, here are some things you can do right now to help us keep track of the state and federal pre- implementation of the Compact:
- Stream Watch! Pictures please of dry reservoirs and all the water being put into the stream and not used on fields! This is the pre-implementation of the Compact instream flows.
- Legal notices: instream flow Environmental Impact Statements, public meetings, or notices
- Milltown Dam water right–streamflow/gauge watch (if interested let us know in the comments and we will contact you) AND reports of water delivery shortages or changes
- Irrigation water deliveries–quota water, non-quota, stream flow (are they sending more water downstream than on the field). We need pictures, dates, times and any other information
- Disclaimers appearing on title insurance, bank loans, water rights certificates, land titles regarding Tribal water right
- Governor’s/state spending of $3 million of discretionary fund
- Legal notices of water court activity involving water claims in western Montana.
Please remember that documentation is evidence and is very, very important. We must be sure and be able to prove our concerns in a court of law, because that’s where all of this is headed.
The protection of liberty demands that we protect our neighbor’s water rights and the regional water rights of western Montanans. Please join us in this fight!