by Dr. Ed Berry
On March 2 in Kalispell, Montana, three Montana Senators – Janna Taylor, Mark Blasdel, and Bob Keenan – and two Montana Representatives – Randy Brodehl and Keith Regier – told us why they oppose the CSKT Water Compact SB 262, but they could not give one valid reason for their opposition.
Not attending, wisely no doubt to separate themselves from Compact opponents, were Senator Bruce Tutvedt and Representatives Frank Garner, Steve Lavin, and Al Olszewski.
This was a meeting of Tea Party legislators and their dwindling Tea Party constituency, who will commit political suicide as they oppose the Compact.
Rep. Regier opposes the Compact because of the wording of a “Whereas” paragraph. Duh? A Whereas is not the agreement.
Rep. Regier opposes the Compact because, he says, its first line in Article 1 does not say the CSKT cedes its historical territory. This is nitpicking irrelevancy.
On August 22, 2014, Helen Thigpen, Staff Attorney for the Water Policy Interim Committee, provided comprehensive answers to all of Rep. Regier’s and Rep. Ballance’s questions. Regier has not shown that Thigpen is mistaken, so all Regier’s legal reasons to reject the Compact fail.
Janna Taylor opposes the Compact because its rules prevent “her” from micromanaging Compact details … after the Compact has been approved by all parties to the negotiation. Senator Debbie Barrett shares Taylor’s egocentric reason to oppose the Compact.
Taylor and Barrett do not respect the 1979 legislature that gave the Compact commission the authority and duty to “conclude” the Compact negotiation. Taylor and Barrett do not understand the Compact is a carefully balanced negotiated agreement and if any side makes a change it is an unethical rejection of the proposed agreement.
Taylor opposes the Compact because it is a “permanent” agreement. She does not understand that “rejection” of the Compact is also “permanent!” Logic requires she also oppose the “rejection” of the Compact because rejection is “permanent.”
Senator Taylor would not have voted for the Declaration of Independence or the US Constitution because they were “permanent.” Taylor needs an education in logic and common sense. Meanwhile, she is a loose cannon who endangers Montana.
On a tax-related question, Regier said if we reduce taxes this will leave people more money to spend and this will help the economy. Yet, Regier complained the $55 million the State of Montana would put into the Compact over a five year period was lost money. You can’t have it both ways. If lowering taxes helps the economy then investing $55 million into an irrigation project also helps the economy.
More important, the $55 million is 5 percent of the $1.2 billion the federal government would contribute to the project. The federal contribution to Montana makes $55 million a good investment. Would you promise to put up $55 million if the feds would pay you $1.2 billion? Duh?
If opponents block the Compact, Montana will lose the $1.2 billion federal gift and then have to pay an estimated $1.8 billion to defend themselves against the federal-supported Tribal water rights lawsuits, for a total Delta of $3.0 billion. This may not be a lot of money in California but it is huge in Montana. Opposition is insane. Would you refuse a gift of $1.2 billion if refusal required you to pay $1.8 billion? Duh?
Rep. Brodehl said,
“Right now, the Republicans may be in the majority, but the conservatives are not.”
Well, Compact opponents are not conservatives. Compact opponents are terrorists who would “blow up” an extremely valuable Water Compact that has taken negotiators a decade to create. Compact opponents are unethical, immoral, and insane.
Compact supporters are the true conservatives.
The three senators and two reps are now members of the Tea Party “Chemtrail Club.”
Compact opponents’ names will go down in infamy. Democrats will crossover to help Republicans vote them out of office in their next election.
Never have so few threatened so much damage to Montana.