Jan Tusick, Secretary Treasurer

Mission Valley Irrigators United 

While no one can begrudge a local government for wanting to protect the interests of their residents, it is a different scenario entirely when they are criticizing the very legislation that will protect their constituents from years of costly litigation and uncertainty.

Contrary to claims made by the Lake County Commission, the Montana Water Rights Protection Act introduced by Senator Daines and supported by Senator Tester, is not only bi-partisan, but has tremendous benefits for water users both in Lake County and across our state. The MWRPA protects water users and well owners in our county by defining the federally reserved water rights of the Tribes and preventing expensive legal proceedings in the Montana Water Court.

In fact, without Senator Daines’ solution to protect water rights, water users would have started receiving notices from the Montana Water Court informing them that their water rights were being challenged by the Tribes when the stay on the Tribes claims expired on January 10th. Thankfully, because of Senator Daines’ legislation, the Water Court renewed the stay of these legal claims, extending the expiration date and saving Montanans from having to deal with the immediate enforcement of the Tribes rights.

The Lake County Commission has also made claims that the agreement expands the Reservation and tribal influence, when in reality it does the exact opposite. The MWRPA ensures that existing water rights, as well as non-irrigation uses of water, are protected from Tribal call.

I would encourage our county leaders to carefully consider the tremendous benefits of the Montana Water Rights Protection Act. Instead of criticizing Senator Daines, they should really be thanking him for introducing legislation that will protect the water rights and tax dollars of our Lake County residents.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.