©2016 Concerned Citizens of Western Montana
The context for the concern discussed in our post Getting Your Water Rights in Order is that Montana’s Governor, Attorney General, and Department of Natural Resources and Conservation seem determined to negate the property rights of Montana citizens and give our water resources to the federal government, under the guise of an Indian water settlement. Let’s not forget that Montana’s Congressional Delegation, specifically Steve Daines, intends to turn over our public lands and national forests to the Tribes under the guise of protecting us from environmental lawsuits.
We are grateful to the Western Ag Reporter for publishing the article below by Dr. Kate.
October 13, 2016
The Governor of any state, along with his Attorney General, has a lot to do with how that particular state protects the property rights of its citizens. If those elected officials are “captured” by any one or combination of special interests, the economic, moral, property rights, and institutional health of that state can be degraded. For the last twelve years in Montana, we have had just exactly that—an increasingly obtuse state government led by individuals who have been captured by the special interests of Indian Tribes, environmentalists, big government, and especially in the last four years, the globalist agenda of the democrats.
Perhaps damaged the most by Governor Bullock and his “republican” Attorney General are the water rights of individuals and the ownership of water across the state. The Governor’s picks for the head of the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation and those critical positions in the water rights bureau, fully captured by the instream flow-federalize-environmental-fish-tribal lobbies, have done much to undermine private property rights to water, the Montana Constitution, and the institutions which are supposed to protect those rights.
As an example, let’s take the Montana Constitution’s directive that all pre-1973 water rights are “affirmed”…or “grandfathered in”. That literal meaning of the Constitution indicates that those water rights are to be affirmed as is, according to documented historic use. But the Governor’s agencies have practiced reducing the volume of those pre-1973 water rights in many cases without reason or explanation. This is especially true of agricultural water rights subject to the increasingly arbitrary DNRC water volume reductions.
The Governor’s appointments for critical natural resource industry positions, like water, minerals, environment, and fish, wildlife, and parks say everything about the direction the Governor wanted to take the state in. Under Attorney General and now Governor Bullock, the direction that Montana has been taken in is to prevent people from enjoying and using their property rights, to increasingly federalize Montana’s land and water resources, and to give away our public lands to special interests instead of keeping them in state hands. The Governor’s vision follows the democrat’s strategy nation-wide: federalize/ globalize Montana’s land and water, eliminate private property, and let the environmentalists dictate all natural resource strategy. Rural cleansing, anyone?
It is time to clean house and get our priorities back on track. The rein of Bullock needs to end so we can stop the bleeding of Montana’s resources into the hands of special interests. Perhaps with a new Governor, the next Attorney General would begin to remember the directives of the Montana Constitution and act accordingly by protecting property rights.