Like the misnamed “Montana Water Rights Protection Act”, Senator Daines’ CSKT Compact undermines and does not support President Trump’s priorities and objectives regarding rural America’s economies, agriculture, ranching and the rich heritage of the western United States.
Even with the parading around of Interior Secretary’ Bernhardt’s cut and paste
propaganda letter, and the staging of invitation for Attorney General Bill Barr to launch the missing Native women initiative “support the CSKT Compact”, the Daines Compact solves nothing, is nothing new, and now makes it worse for the counties and taxpaying citizens of western Montana. Oh, and by the way, the 10,000 claims remain an issue for Montana.
The Daines Compact represents the CSKT revenge on Montana citizens that opposed the CSKT Compact. While the Tester bill’s “add on goodies” were easy to dismiss because they were so outrageous, the Daines Compact enables more targeted and severe takings in Lake and Sanders County, facilitated by the state, that will be hard for citizens to defeat and should never have been “added” to a water rights settlement in the first place. Should this be called the “Daines Revenge Compact”, or “Shut up and Go Away” Compact, or “Shut up or I’ll Take More” Compact?
Let’s just take a look at Agricultural and Rural Prosperity, a clear priority of the President and the impact of the Daines Compact on Lake, Sanders, and Flathead County. From the the Interagency Task Force rural-prosperity-report, we look at just two broad goals negatively impacted by the Daines Compact:
Improving Quality of Life: Ensuring rural Americans can achieve a high quality of life is the foundation of prosperity. Quality of life is a measure of human well-being that can be identified though economic and social indicators. Modern utilities, affordable housing, efficient transportation and reliable employment are economic indicators that must be integrated with social indicators like access to medical services, public safety, education and community resilience to empower rural communities to thrive. Focusing and delivering key federal reforms will enable rural Americans to flourish and prosper in 21st Century communities.
- The Daines/CSKT Compact will reduce the quality of life in Lake, Sanders and Flathead County.
- By taking 50,000 acres of lawfully allotted state lands in Lake and Sanders Counties and transferring them to the CSKT in exchange for pennies or non-taxable federal land, both the tax base and value of land will be reduced, affecting house sales and purchases, inducing skyrocketing rents, and reducing funding available for schools and basic services.
- By earmarking the Daines Compact funds for the counties to road culverts, the infrastructure around the counties, the Daines’ compact forces the County to focus on minor components of their major road infrastructure issues instead of the real issues and work.
- The Daines Compact facilitates the destruction of the Flathead Irrigation and Power Project, despite its claims that monies will be used for its rehabillitation. That’s the Tribes’ view of rehabilitation.
- The Daines Compact permits the theft of more than 360,000 acre feet of water from the Flathead Irrigation Project used by landowners within the project, reducing agricultural water deliveries by 40%-70%.
- The Daines Compact makes Flathead County, and reservation towns, and cities dependent upon the CSKT and federal government for future water development
- The Daines Compact fails to support Tribal self-determination and condemns the Tribal members to poverty and the control of an oppressive and retaliatory Tribal government
- The Daines Compact severely challenges the future viability and responsiveness of county government to taxpaying citizen’s concerns, law enforcement, emergency services, and other vital services.
Supporting a Rural Workforce: To grow and prosper, every rural community needs job opportunities for its residents, and employers need qualified individuals to fill those needs. This requires identifying employment needs, attracting available workers from urban and rural centers alike, and providing the workforce with training and education to best fill the available needs. There are many opportunities to partner with local businesses and organizations to identify gaps, to work with all levels of educational institutions to provide career training and development, to fine-tune existing training programs, and to grow apprenticeship opportunities to develop the required workforce. Providing rural communities, organizations, and businesses a skilled workforce with an environment where people can thrive will grow prosperous communities.
The Daines Compact is simply not cognizant of what it takes to support a rural economy and government, nor of the workforce development needs. We suppose his answer to rural economic development is “high tech jobs” like his comrades Tester and Greg Gianforte, which of course displaces the agricultural economy and rural lifestyle, shifting our state into a resort destination instead of a working, productive, fully employed state with self-determined and productive citizens. Not service and high-tech jobs.
- 1.9 billion dollars in the hands of a 70-member Tribal bureaucracy plus 30 lawyers encourages dependence of the Tribal community; is antithetical to the development of a fully trained workforce; and will most likely be used to solidify political support, purchase land, and otherwise attempt to “return the reservation to pre-1855 conditions.
The Senator falsely invokes the support of the Trump administration, and the President himself, for the destruction of Lake, Sanders, and Flathead County and the increasing dependence of the Tribal population on the federal government.
Remember the Tribes have given up nothing. The Daines Compact still keeps SB 262, and is so unspecific you can drive two mack trucks through it at the same time.
Please contact the President at http://www.whitehouse.gov and send him a message, letter, or phone call. Let him know how you feel about the “republican” senator from Montana and his plans to destroy Western Montana in favor of the CSKT and whatever campaign contributions he and others will receive for this travesty!