[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
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
“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.