Water compact: Proponents promoting old ideas

2013-08-09T09:15:00Z Water compact: Proponents promoting old ideas missoulian.com
August 09, 2013 9:15 am

After the Montana Legislature was exposed to the serious legal, constitutional, economic and property value impacts of the compact, the Legislature found that it could not ratify the compact. The governor ordered the compact commission to study the reasons why it failed. People right now are working on alternatives, yet the compact proponents keep promoting the same old failed documents.

Here are some points of “Water Law and the Compact” to consider:

• You can’t give your neighbor’s water away. Parts of the irrigator water use agreement have been ruled an unconstitutional taking of property rights.

• The state may not abandon its citizens to an experimental water board that “looks like state law.” The tribes will wield significant influence over four of the five board members.

• Off-reservation claims do not belong in the compact because they are not federal reserved water rights.

• Comparing the Klamath Basin to the Flathead Basin is comparing apples to oranges.

• The Unitary Management Board is an unaccountable, politically appointed board in full charge of current and future uses of surface and ground water for all users. The state is removed from the reservation.

If the compact is so good, why do proponents insist upon tactics that bad-mouth, disparage, threaten or ridicule opponents? It’s the same old rhetoric with generalizations and vagueness.

Marsha Straus, Ronan

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