Montana Stockgrowers Support Passage Of CSKT Settlement In Congress

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[HELENA, Mont.] – On December 5, 2019, U.S. Senator Steve Daines announced the agreement with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) which provides a new framework for a permanent water settlement.

The Montana Stockgrowers Association would like to thank Sen. Steve Daines for his leadership and perseverance in negotiating a framework that will allow for a permanent water settlement with the CSKT Compact in Congress.

“The Montana Water Rights Protection Act will ensure that historical water use by all water users on and off the reservation are protected,” said MSGA President, Fred Wacker.

The success of Montana’s agriculture industry is dependent upon water and water right certainty. It is easily the single most important resource for people across Montana, which is why MSGA has long supported an agreement such as the Montana Water Rights Protection Act.

“For more than 130 years, MSGA has been dedicated to influencing public policy improving the profitability of Montana’s ranching families and protecting their private property rights,” Wacker said. “Our members have determined this legislation meets the needs of the water right holders and will eliminate decades of litigation. MSGA strongly supports both Senator Daines and Senator Tester in this effort to move this settlement through Congress as expeditiously as possible.”

The Montana Water Rights Protection Act will permanently eliminate 97% of all CSKT’s water rights claims across Montana, which will save taxpayers over $400 million and protect the water rights of all Montanans.

Simply put, the Montana Water Rights Protection Act protects Montanans’ due process by giving them access to state courts over water disputes between tribal and non-tribal members. It also affirms Montanans’ Constitutional protection that the water of the State of Montana belongs to all the people for their common benefit (Article IX, Section 3). It will prevent years of costly litigation for Montana water users, and provide much needed certainty for all parties involved.

 MSGA applauds the bi-partisan efforts of Senator Daines and Tester in this effort and look forward to the implementation of the act.