by Ken Cornelius, Ronan, MT
In many ways the passage of the CSKT Water Compact is proof of the effectiveness of our legislative process. After the failure of the 2013 Compact, members of the legislature, along with tribal members, irrigators, farmers, ranchers, and stakeholders from across the state joined forces to find a workable solution to define the water rights of the Tribe, while ensuring that all Montanans continued to have access to the water resources they need.
After years of additional negotiations—the 2015 CSKT Water Compact emerged. The agreement included provisions that provided for more local control, greater certainty for water right owners, and an unprecedented degree of stability for on-project irrigators.
It was the unparalleled work of all those involved in the Compacting process that allowed SB 262 to successfully pass—including the work of those legislators who genuinely took the time to read and understand the content of SB 262, the CSKT Water Compact.
It is these legislators—and their commitment to working for their constituents—that passed the Compact.
I would like to personally thank all those who cast their vote in favor of the Compact—you have protected the future of Montana’s most valuable resource, and nothing could be more important.