Senator Daines and Senator Tester’s landmark legislation to protect Montana’s water resources has been signed into law by President Trump
HELENA — President Trump has completed one of the final stages of ratifying the CSKT Water Compact by signing the Montana Water Rights Protection Act. The settlement legislation—introduced by Senator Steve Daines and co-sponsored by Senator Jon Tester—defines the federally reserved water rights of the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes, settles the legal claims of the Tribes against the federal government, and prevents decades of costly litigation for Montana’s farmers, ranchers, and water users.
“Our state’s agricultural community, and water users across Montana, have long awaited this moment. This agreement has been decades in the making and stakeholders from every facet of our economy have weighed in during the creation of this bi-partisan, negotiated settlement,” said FARM Co-Chair Tom Beck. “The certainty that the Montana Water Rights Protection Act will bring to water right holders and the over $1 billion hit to our agriculture industries that it prevents is crucial to the success of Montana agriculture. Senator Daines, Senator Tester, Congressman Gianforte, and President Trump have successfully secured the future of Montana agriculture by putting partisan politics aside and doing what is best for water users across our state.”
President Trump’s ratification of the Montana Water Rights Protection Act, which has been decades in the making, is a historic accomplishment and marks the end of a century long dispute over the federally reserved water rights of the CSKT.
The bill will protect all existing water rights, while preventing costly litigation and investing much needed financial resources into Montana infrastructure projects and water system upgrades. The Montana Water Rights Act will create over 6,300 new jobs and over $52 million in annual economic activity in Montana, while preventing a $1.3 billion hit to Montana’s agriculture industry.
Farmers and Ranchers for Montana (FARM) is a grassroots coalition committed to fair water policies and the implementation of the Montana Water Compact that secures water resources for all Montanans. For more information please visit www.montanawatercompact.com.