©2020 Concerned Citizens of Western Montana

Trying to be cute, but failing miserably, the Senator’s PR shop (aka the Tribes and Mercury Consulting) put out a press release titled “Fake News vs Fact: Montana Water Rights Protection Act”. 

Wow!  There is fake news in the title!  The “Montana Water Rights Protection Act” does not protect water rights!

Seriously, Senator what were you thinking?

Apparently, the underbelly of this “press release” is to try to damage anyone who opposes their plans to fold the CSKT Compact into another bad burrito.

Daines:  Montanans’ Concerns are “Fake News”

Did Steve Daines just call Montanan’s concerns about his “Montana Water Rights Protection Act” “fake news”?  He now sounds like FARM, or better yet, Mercury LLC, threatening Montanans for being concerned about the Senator and Tester’s joint voyage against property rights in the name of an “Indian water settlement”.

In a recent press release, the Senator decries what he calls “fake news” about his CSKT Compact. But if you notice, the only thing listed in the press release are the statements the Senator makes in his own compact, with no contrasting “fake news”.  So, which is it Senator—is your bill fake news, or are Montanan’s concerns and valid points about your compact fake?

One of the first glaring examples of the Daines Fake News CSKT Compact is its name:  “Montana Water Rights Protection Act”.  What and whose water rights does it protect?  Whose water does it take? We’d like a detailed explanation, watershed by watershed across the state of Montana so we can be sure it’s not just fake news.

Here’s another example of Daines’ fake news:  “97% of the off reservation water claims in the Flathead Basin have been removed”. But Senator, isn’t that 97% just the Flathead Lake claim? Why doesn’t that include removing all the tributaries, not just two? Why do the Tribes still retain Hungry Horse and the Swan, Clark Fork, Kootenai, and Bitterroot River?  Won’t they control Flathead lake by their demands on the lower Flathead River?

Why are there any “off reservation claims” in the Daines CSKT Compact, when the main concern is that these are not federal reserved water rights but are newly created water rights? And why are those off-reservation claims in western Montana depicted as “points on a map”, when they in fact represent only a measuring point for the required streamflow for tens of miles of stream course upstream of that point?

What about the 10,000 off reservation claims that include western and eastern Montana which were filed in Court after the CSKT Compact was passed? If the Bill requires the Tribes to give them up with prejudice, but does not require the United States to do so or refer to Court proceedings, isn’t that “fake news” presented to all Montanans? Can the Senator guarantee finality and certainty for all Montanans’ water?

Perhaps the worst “fake news” about the Daines CSKT Compact is about intent.  For years the Senator railed about the divisiveness of the CSKT Compact and that it would not happen on his watch.  Then he asked a group of citizens, including farmers, ranchers, irrigators, and legislators, to develop an alternative  and to ensure that it was “within the framework of the law of the Winters Doctrine”, who delivered to him in September 2019.  Then he pretended to have that product “reviewed” by the Department of the Interior, which didn’t review it, so he ignored it too, and then pretended that the “review” knocked out the very alternative he had supported and requested.  Are the Senator’s talking points the real “fake news”?

In this context it is ludicrous to believe that Senator Daines “solved a century-long conflict”.  He had the chance but didn’t take it, and unfortunately did not learn from Montana citizens and citizen legislator’s due diligence over years. All the information he missed can be found here:  https://tinyurl.com/Flathead-Water

It might be a good idea for the Senator to stop talking about “fake news”…because it looks like he is overwhelmed by his own.