by Dr. Ed Berry
There’s the story about two hunters, Fred and Joe, who see a bear running towards them. Joe takes off his boots and ties on his track shoes.
Fred says, “Why put on your track shoes? You still can’t outrun that bear.”
Joe says, “I don’t have to outrun that bear. I only have to outrun you.”
Which gets us to the first reason Senator Jackson and other Compact opponents are unethical. They think any defect they claim about the Compact means Montana must reject the Compact. They think wrong.
The Compact does not have to outrun the bear. It only has to outrun its alternative, which is no Compact.
Senator Jackson does not consider the risk that he may be wrong.
Senator Jackson believes the Hellgate Treaty does not give the CSKT off-reservation water rights. He has a right to his opinion. The problem is the courts may not agree with his opinion.
To be ethical and moral, Jackson must consider that the contrary opinions of Compact attorneys like Helen Thigpen, Melissa Hornbein, Governor Steve Bullock, Attorney General Tim Fox, Hertha Lund, etc., may be correct. They, not Jackson, have studied the case law that best predicts how the courts will rule.
Senator Jackson wants all Montanans to risk their future on his personal opinion.
Senator Jackson and other Compact opponents do not rebut the legal opinions that support the Compact. Yet, they tell us to reject the Compact and fight the Tribes (and the feds) in court. This is unethical.
You can take the risks for your personal opinions but it is unethical and immoral to assign the risks of your personal opinions to the public.
As a pilot, you can take personal risks with your stunts when only you are aboard. But it is immoral to take such risks when you have innocent passengers aboard.
Senator Jackson is afraid to go solo. He wants to take everyone with him.
Jackson and other Compact opponents can file their personal water-rights lawsuits after the Compact is approved. Therefore, they are unethical and immoral to force all Montanans to defend against CSKT water rights claims.
Jackson’s way will cost water-rights defenders about $1.8 billion in legal costs, set back Montana’s economy, increase our taxes, decrease our property values, and likely lose our water rights to the CSKT.
It’s time for Senator Jackson to get ethical and moral.
To be ethical and moral, Senator Jackson must support the Compact. This will allow other Montanans to enjoy the water and economic freedom they desire under the Compact.
Then he can file his personal water-rights lawsuit to “prove” he is correct. If he is correct, the court will grant him the water rights he believes he deserves.