© 2018 Concerned Citizens of Western Montana

In 2013, we asked if the Irrigator Water Use Agreement in the water compact was a Red Herring, used to get irrigators fighting for their water while ignoring the dangers of the water compact in its entirety.

Five years later, we know so much more than we did then, including the contents of the Federal Water Compact Settlement bill S.3013 designed by and for the CSKT to gift to themselves so much more than all of the irrigator’s water.  Heck that was just a drop in the bucket.

It would seem that the latest distraction is the $2.4 billion dollars of settlement money included in S.3013.  It equates to a whopping $467,000  per tribal member, but with the stipulation that “No portion of the Fund shall be distributed on a per capita basis to any member of the Tribes.” 

While the money itself is an egregious pilfering of the federal treasury, the language in this bill literally attempts to give away the farms:

The Water Compact (neatly inserted into S.3013) provides for:

  • The federalization / tribalization of most if not all of the water, both on and off the reservation in western Montana
  • Montana’s relinquishment of its constitutionally mandated jurisdiction over every drop of water within reservation boundaries to a tribally controlled board that will be unaccountable to the state, or the federal government, and immune from suit.
  • Tribal ownership of 100% of irrigation project water and reducing water deliveries to irrigators by 40-70%.  It literally turns largest irrigation project in Montana into a fish farm allocating 11% of project water for irrigation, 89% for fish.

Wrapped around the water compact package, is the Jon Tester federal “settlement”, heaping on even more goodies:

  • $2.4 billion in settlement funds “earmarked” for various purposes.
  • Tribal ownership and complete control over the Flathead Irrigation Project despite the fact that 90% of the lands it serves are privately owned
  • The ability to build massive new Bureau of Reclamation dam infrastructure on tribal lands along the Flathead River, free of charge to the CSKT Inc.

What began as an exercise to summarize what the Tester bill proposes to spend the $2.4 billion on, ended with the realization that words really do matter, and it is the language of the bill itself that you can see where the real agenda is hidden.

In other words, while the $2.4 billion dollars in and of itself is astounding, it pales in comparison to the value of the water resources and the “non-monetary settlement” infrastructure assets that Jon Tester proposes to award to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes under the pretense of a “federal reserved water rights settlement.”

(A recap of the monetary and non-monetoary portions of the settlement can be found at this link):  S3013 CSKT Settlement Summary

The water compact was merely a means to an end:  the federalization of our clean abundant water, and giving one tribe the monetary and infrastructure assets necessary to achieve their stated goal of restoring all lands on the reservation to tribal ownership:

By sponsoring and introducing a bill that provides for such massive federal and tribal overreach,  Jon Tester makes it clear that he has chosen to represent a more complete federalization of western Montana through the advancement of the agenda of the CSKT Special Interest and federally chartered Tribal Corporation.  He has not represented the interests of western Montana or the rest of the state.  Instead he chose to represent the federal government and the thriving Montana Swamp.

It’s unfortunate that Montana’s “leadership” gave the tribes and federal government the water compact vehicle necessary to extort vast riches from the federal treasury to the detriment of so many, including the tribe’s own membership.

The roadmap has been carefully laid out and it is being revealed, one document, one bill, one lawsuit at a time.

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention that if this bad water compact is ever ratified by Congress, all of the tribe’s other claims, including the 10,000 claims filed over 2/3 of the state of Montana and other related lawsuits will be dismissed “without prejudice.”  No doubt this will be the springboard for generations of more litigation by what will by then be a very wealthy tribal corporation entity that trumps all else.

Page 62 of the compact dated 01/12/2015 says:

“the United States, the Tribes, and the State shall execute and file joint motions pursuant to Rule 41(a), Fed.R.Civ.P., to dismiss without prejudice any and all claims of the Tribes, Tribal members, and Allottees and any and all claims made by the United States for the benefit of the Tribes, Tribal members, and Allottees in United States v. Abell, No. CIV-79-33-M (filed April 5, 1979). The case may only be resumed if either the State or the Tribes exercise the rights each holds under Article VII.A;”

What a joke.  This compact has been bad news from the start, and is a final settlement of nothing.

In its wake will be a federal special interest tribal corporation flush with federal taxpayer money, the ruin of our agricultural economy, and a cloud forever hanging over the water and property rights of 2/3 of the state of Montana.