From Senator Daines' Office
U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senators Steve Daines and Jon Tester celebrated their bipartisan bill, the “Montana Water Rights Protection Act,” being signed into law by President Trump. The bill permanently settles the century long CSKT water dispute, supports Montana jobs, modernizes rural infrastructure and protects the water rights of all Montanans.
“After years of a lot of effort, our bipartisan bill that settles the century long CSKT water dispute is now law,” Daines said. “This is a huge win for all Montanans. Our bill protects the water rights of all Montanans, savestaxpayer dollars, creates jobs, modernizes rural infrastructure, protects Montana agriculture and preventscostly litigation. I’m very glad I could play a direct role in getting this done, and I thank President Trump for signing our bill into law.”
“Today is a historic day for Montana taxpayers, ranchers, farmers, and Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes,” Tester said. “Water is life, and the Compact honors our trust responsibilities, creates jobs, and prevents decades of costly litigation while investing in infrastructure and providing certainty to water users everywhere. I am proud to have led the effort to get this Compact signed into law, and I will continue working with the Tribes and water users to hold the government accountable and ensure it is implemented quickly and effectively.”
“This law is a win for all Montanans. Our farmers, ranchers, the Salish and Kootenai tribes, and all water users across the state will now have the certainty they need,” Congressman Greg Gianforte said. “Thank you President Trump and my colleagues in the Senate for getting this across the finish line.”
Back in June, in a U.S Senate hearing, the Trump administration expressed support for the bipartisan bill with the Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary Tim Petty discussing the benefits of the bill, including job creation and modernizing infrastructure needs.
Without the efforts of Senator Daines and Senator Tester, Montana’s agriculture economy would face a $1.3 billion hit. Thousands of Montanans would be forced to litigate their water rights causing a substantial uncertainty for Montana’s farmers and ranchers.
Conservatives’ Statement on Trump Signing Omnibus
Sent by Drew Zinecker
Aide to Rep. Brad Tschida (R-Missoula)
Montana House of Representatives
"In a clear betrayal of our state and of President Trump, Senator Daines slipped the CSKT Water Compact into the coronavirus relief bill, despite his legislation having nothing to do with coronavirus. With a less than 5 percent chance of being enacted, the deceptively-named “Montana Water Rights Protection Act” was added at the last minute. This went against his oath of office in which he swore on the Bible to protect the constitution.
Meanwhile, six of the Senate's conservative stalwarts voted against the bill. Daines was not among them. He voted for the nearly 6,000 page bill after having received it a few hours before without time to read it. This was a sad day for the people of Montana and showed blatant disregard for the will of the People.
We will continue this battle in court, where we are confident the CSKT Water Compact will see defeat. Montanans want this issue to ultimately be resolved in Montana in accordance with existing state and federal law. This is exactly what we had asked Senator Daines do. However he proceeded unilaterally to hurt Montana when he acted as a member of the DC Swamp that voters rejected in 2016 and 2020.”
Rep. Joe Read (R-Ronan)