©2016 Montana Land and Water Alliance

It came as no surprise to many, including 37 legislators, that the CSKT would attempt to override state and federal law to get the CSKT Compact introduced and passed in the 2016 session of Congress.  This Congressional push is despite the FACT that there is literally no compact to present to Congress because of the Flathead Joint Board of Control (FJBC) litigation.

But even if the Compact had passed, it is so completely flawed that it may not even make it out of the state of Montana.  To make a long story short, but documented in these pages, the state of Montana totally betrayed its citizens. And the pattern of ignoring state law, and even federal law, continues in the CSKT Compact, with the Tribe going to Congress and the state implementing the compact before there even is a compact.

The Federal Process for Reviewing Indian Water Settlments

The CSKT Compact has to pass rigorous federal review before it can even be discussed in Congress:

  • The federal process for the approval of Indian water settlements is spelled out by the Criteria and Procedures that guide federal agency involvement in negotiations.  These investigations–which should have been done before the Compact went to the legislature if the federal government were really engaged–now have to be completed by the agencies when there is a compact available.
  • The agency review must be certified according to the the guidance of the House Natural Resources Committee.  These procedures require the full economic, environmental, legal, and policy analysis of the CSKT Compact, and the correction of errors, before discussion occurs at the Congressional level.

From our knowledge of the Compact, we assert that none of these procedures were followed or have been completed for the CSKT Compact. Accordingly, the Alliance weighed in as follow-up to our Montana legislators.

Montana Land and Water Alliance Weighs In

The Alliance’s remarks focused on these major issues.

  1. The CSKT Compact is not Final in Montana due to On-going Litigation

  2. The CSKT Compact Expands the Scope and Application Federal Reserved Water Rights and their Administration at the Expense of the State Water Administration and Water Rights

  3. CSKT Compact Based on Faulty Assumptions Contrary to Federal and State Law: Where Were the Criteria and Procedures?

  4. The Federal Data Quality Act (P.L. 106-554 §515) is Applicable to the CSKT Compact

  5. The Federal Government Cannot Require a State to Violate its Own Constitution to Meet a Federal Obligation in an Indian Water Settlement

The “major” letter is to the Secretary of the Interior, as it is attached to every other letter as reference.  Please find them below.

Letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewel

Letters to Montana Congressional Delegation. The same letter was sent to Congressman Zinke and Senators Daines and Tester.

Letter to Senator John Barrasso, Chairman, Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs

Letter to Congressman Rob Bishop, Chairman, House Natural Resources Committee