©2019 Concerned Citizens of Western Montana
In review and summary…
The widely reported letter from Secretary Bernhardt to Senator Daines was designed to “breathe new life” into the dead horse known as the CSKT Compact.
The letter contained no new information and doubled down on all the same tired reasoning they have used for years. All of the assumptions and illegalities of the CSKT Compact have been detailed here on this blog, and for the high level view, in this recently produced video prepared initially for Senator Daines.
DNRC Director John Tubbs, one of the compact’s chief proponents, thought the Secretary’s letter was “historic”, but to us the “historic” aspect of this is how many years Montana can ignore the law and advance a policy that they know is destructive to Montana. Sad.
What is not historic, but was a cheap political trick, was to schedule the visit of Attorney General William Barr, and the timing of this letter, to strongly suggest to the public that “the Trump administration supports the CSKT Compact”. Once again, in scheduling this visit the Senator ignored the pubic and specifically carved out the Tribes with a visit. Why here, why now?
Of course AG Barr–who has not been presented any other picture than the tribes–is going to say something positive on the issue even though the CSKT Compact was tastelessly raised by the Tribe or Daines at this unrelated meeting.
Interesting, though, that this visit should be hastily arranged just shortly after this article appeared in the Western Ag Reporter, busting the off-reservation water claim hoax. One can hear the frantic phone calls now— “Quick, hurry do something before everybody finds out!!!”
The background to the recent news coverage is that Senator Daines asked the Secretary of the Interior to review the People’s Compact and accompanying Flathead Water Solutions Handbook for Decision Makers. The Secretary’s letter showed that he never reviewed the Handbook and the people who wrote his response are the same people who wrote and pushed the Compact while in Montana. It appeared to be recycled language.
Was the Senator alarmed at the failure of the Secretary to review the Handbook? Did he know enough to be alarmed?
All we citizens have asked for is that our elected officials follow the law. In view of all the issues raised and now known about the CSKT Compact, the Secretary’s letter to Senator Daines is really nothing more than a love letter to the lawlessness and property takings in the CSKT Compact.
Despite the headlines, the CSKT Compact is far from even touching President Trump’s priorities, and in fact undermines them. The President needs to know what is going on here, and the role that our Congressionals are playing, before he decides to stump for any of them here in Montana.