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  Comments (2) Total Thursday Apr. 24, 2014
Support Compact and Lift Uncertainty
Guest Column
After long and thoughtful investigation of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ compact the county commissioners of Flathead, Lake and Missoula counties have issued letters of support for the CSKT water compact.

The compact ties up water out of Hungry Horse for use in Montana. Eleven-thousand acre feet are already allocated to the state for economic development in Montana. The state tried for years to get Hungry Horse water and failed. At present it does not belong to Montana and can go to many other states who constantly lobby for it.

The compact takes no water away from irrigators on the Flathead reservation. It protects our future. All irrigation water on the project gets an 1855 priority date. All water off the project goes through the adjudication process and receives a state water right decreed by the state water court.

As the Flathead commissioners correctly stated, “It provides economic benefits to our area now and in the future we will get in no other way.” There is no benefit to the years of litigation and uncertainty it will bring to half of the state.

Realtors on the reservation are already feeling the pain as lenders read appraisers’ notations of uncertain water claims. More than 3,000 wells exist on the reservation with no legal status. That is a huge number of homes with no water right. Ronan has a municipal well with no water right. These issues and future water uses are all resolved in the compact. Without the compact there likely will be no new development on the reservation for non-tribal members and all property values will suffer.

Sen. Verdell Jackson claims the compact is unconstitutional, but the compact commission was very thoughtful and careful of the constitutionality when they crafted the compact. Jackson is also well aware that if it never passes the Legislature, there can be no test. For that purpose the opponents are trying very hard to kill it with accusations and hype.

Don’t believe what you read about the compact. It has huge economic and social consequences if it is not passed. Don’t believe us. Go to the DNRC website and read the compact document. Read the compact commission report. It answers all the questions put forth by the public on the compact. Go to (http://www.dnrc.mt.gov/rwrcc/Compacts/CSKT/).

If you don’t have time to read the compact for yourselves then trust your county commissioners. They were not elected to make the easy decisions or win popularity contests. It was their job to investigate the CSKT compact and they found it in the best interests of their constituents to support it.

Jack & Susan Lake live in Ronan
On 01-17-14, RussCrowder commented....
I suspect Verdell would only get nervous if your looking at his butt Looney.
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