The CSKT Water Compact was passed through the Senate with strong bipartisan support — showcasing the growing understanding and support behind the Compact. Sen. Chas Vincent has gone to great lengths to ensure that all Montanans understand the components of this bill.
However, you can't teach people who don't want to listen. A vocal few who are opposing the compact have chosen to base their opposition in rhetoric and scare tactics — not facts.
What they refuse to understand is that litigating water rights in court could cause the citizens of Montana to lose their water rights. Our farmers and ranchers will be fighting an uphill battle to prove that the priority date of their right existed before the rights exercised by the tribe, many of which date back to 'time immemorial.'
Appearing in water court could cost individual citizens thousands of dollars. Passing the compact will help water users avoid this lengthy and pricey process while protecting existing rights and providing fair and equitable access to Montana’s water resources.
Sen. Vincent understands how important water rights are to Montanans, and he wants to assure them the best possible outcome. If this bill doesn't pass, the costs to individual water users could be high, not to mention the uncertainty and private property devaluation that could result if the compact fails.
Montana farmers and ranchers don’t have years to wait or thousands of dollars to spend in court. The compact provides certainty and protection for all existing water rights, while avoiding hefty expense. This bill should be passed to avoid wasting the hard earned dollars of Montanans.