by Dr. Ed Berry
This is the story of how Montana’s Compact Commission protected Montana’s Flathead Valley water from calls by Idaho, Oregon, and Washington by assigning this water to the CSKT with an agreement by the CSKT to not call this water.
This is the story of how Montana’s evangelical Tea Party legislators killed the Compact, the only water protection Montana could ever get, and thereby let water barons sell Montana’s Flathead water to Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.
This is the story of how Montana’s evangelical Tea Party MORONS fell into the water barons’ trap and lost Montana’s water forever and caused Montana to perish in the 2020 to 2045 mega drought.
One hundred sixty years ago, in 1855, the CSKT signed the Hellgate Treaty with the US Government.
This treaty gave the tribes certain water rights. In 1889, Montana became a state with the restriction that its water was subject to the water rights reserved by the US Government for the tribes.
In the 1970’s the US Government assisted the tribes to perfect their water rights in court. The 1979 Legislature postponed these lawsuits when it created the Compact Commission to conclude water negotiations with the Indian tribes.
This made Montana the only state to have the right to negotiate Compacts with the tribes. Other states envied Montana. That is until Montana’s 2015 legislature went berzerk and killed the CSKT Compact.
On April 14, 2015, Montana’s House Judiciary Committee voted 11 NO to 10 YES to kill the Compact.
With only one option left, Compact supporters used their “Silver bullet” to bring the Compact to the house floor. But now, it would take 61 votes to approve the Compact in the House.
Why did Montana’s 2015 legislature kill the most valuable bill in Montana’s history?
The answer is Montana’s 2015 legislature was dominated by the irrational right-wing Tea Party radicals.
Gary Marbut wrote the case for the Compact opponents. He said, correctly, “money controls.” But from there, Marbut missed the whole truth about the Compact. Here are quotes from his article:
However, the chief culprit and the big change is federal regulators who have required California to flush immense amounts of water into the Pacific Ocean.
Because the federal government has been able to wrest away control over most of the water in California, the people of California are now on emergency water rations. With that comes a LOT of control over people.
It is no surprise that under the proposed Compact the federal government would hold the water rights ceded to the CKST “in trust” for the tribes. That is, the federal government would control the water.
If Marbut knew what he was writing about, he would have realized the absence of the Compact, not the Compact, would allow fat-cat water barons to “flush immense amounts of water” out of Flathead Valley so they could sell Montana’s water in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.
This was a permanent loss to Montana.
Montana’s 2015 MORON legislators objected to the Compact because it was “permanent” but they were too dumb to realize the rejection of the Compact was also “permanent.”
The Compact negotiators were aware of the danger downriver states presented to Montana’s water supply. So they wisely added some paragraphs to the Compact to prevent this from happening.
But Marbut and other irrational Compact opponents got their conspiracy theories mixed up. The fact is …
the Compact would control what the federal government can do with Montana’s water and the absence of the Compact cuts loose all reigns on what the federal government can do with Montana’s water.
Marbut talks about Compact “pawns” but it is he and other Compact opponents who are the “pawns.”
Marbut makes the following unwarranted conclusion about the Compact:
It is enough to know that the Compact is all about money and control. If you are for some Wall Street investors eventually making a lot of money from Montana water, you should support the Compact. If you believe that everything worth doing should be done by government, you should support the Compact. However, if you believe in keeping power in the hands of individuals as much as possible, which aids individual liberty, you will probably wish to oppose the Compact. That’s the bottom line.
Marbut falls hook, line, and sinker for Tea Party conspiracy theories.
Here’s the real conspiracy Montana’s Compact opponents were too blind to see.
Outside Montana, water barons are buying up water everywhere. Jo-Shing Yang writes in his Wall Street Mega-Banks are Buying up the World’s Water:
… mega-banks and investing powerhouses such as Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, UBS, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, Macquarie Bank, Barclays Bank, the Blackstone Group, Allianz, and HSBC Bank, among others, are consolidating their control over water.
Wealthy tycoons such as T. Boone Pickens, former President George H.W. Bush and his family, Hong Kong’s Li Ka-shing, Philippines’ Manuel V. Pangilinan and other Filipino billionaires, and others are also buying thousands of acres of land with aquifers, lakes, water rights, water utilities, and shares in water engineering and technology companies all over the world.
These water barons want Montana’s water but the CSKT Water Compact prevents Idaho, Oregon, and Washington from calling Montana’s Flathead River basin water.
Without the Compact, these calls will happen at the first signs of water shortages in these downriver states. And the climate is now shaping up to make this a reality.
(For reference, I sold my drought study to the State of California in 1991 that said their current 1991 drought would end in less than two years but they should prepare for a much more serious drought that would begin about 2012.)
The Water Barons figured out how to stop the Compact.
All the barons had to do was to manipulate Montana’s right-wing Tea Party radicals to believe the Compact is a federal government conspiracy to steal and control Montana’s water and to stuff Montanans into apartment complexes in southern California or into a FEMA camp.
It’s easy for big money to manipulate Montana’s right-wing Tea Party radicals. Simply use the word “conspiracy” and the right-wing nutcases would come out of their sand boxes to stop the Compact without thinking.
These folks believe jet contrails are “chemtrails” the US Government uses to poison them from 33,000 feet in the sky. They believe these chemtrails contain “smart dust” that affects their brains and turns them into machines. They are “ready-to-go” radicals who will jump on a bandwagon to fight the Compact before they read and think.
The Water Barons get morons like Jeremiah Johnson to publish articles like this: FedGov Moves To Seize Water Rights From 100,000 Montanans: “All Surface Water And Wells”. Johnson writes:
the CSKT (Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes) proposed water-rights compact that threatens to take away the private ownership of water for roughly 100,000 Montanans. Should this measure pass, it can set a precedent for the courts throughout the United States by the Federal Government to deprive us of our water rights.
Jeremiah’s claims are untrue but who cares. The right-wing nutcases never check their facts.
The problem with the 2015 legislature was the Republican inmates controlled the asylum.
They represented less than 20 percent of Montana’s Republican voters and 10 percent of all voters. Nevertheless, they were way over-represented in Montana’s 2015 legislature. It took only 40 of them to kill the Compact.
They were not re-elected in 2016 but Montana never recovered from the damage they caused.
Never have so few (who represented only 10 percent of Montana’s voter demographics but 40 percent of its legislature) done so much damage to so many for the dumbest reasons, as Montana’s Tea Party radical Compact opponents have done to Montanans.
May God help Montana.