by Dr. Ed Berry
Compact opponents think, incorrectly, their every complaint against the Compact is a reason to reject the Compact. This is not true. Many complaints against the Compact, even if valid, are not reasons to reject the Compact.
To be a reason to reject the Compact, a complaint must relate to the fundamental question:
“Will Montana be better served if we approve or reject the Compact?”
Complaints that do not relate to this fundamental question relate to what opponents can do after Montana approves the Compact.
To understand this, we need to look at the Water Compact decision tree. Professionals in business, government, and defense use decision trees to understand problems and manage their decisions. Similarly, we need a Water Compact decision tree.
The Water Compact decision tree is quite simple. Let’s look at it.
The Compact does not remove any legal rights for opponents to file lawsuits to seek personal or legal justice. In fact, some opponent complaints require Compact approval before they can be pursued.
As a legislator, you are obligated to vote to achieve the greater good for the State of Montana. This means you must understand the issues that truly belong in the second-row boxes before you vote.
Ten complaints that belong in the third row after Compact approval.
Here are 10 complaints that belong in the third-row boxes followed by my comments:
The Compact violates the Montana or US Constitutions.
Your claim is most likely incorrect because Montana Attorney General Tim Fox and his staff confirmed the Compact complies with the Montana and US Constitutions. You cannot prove your claim without resolving it in court and you can’t resolve it in court until you approve the Compact. Therefore, you must vote YES, then file a lawsuit against the Compact. That way you won’t take down the State of Montana with you.
The Compact is permanent.
To reject the Compact is also “permanent!” So your logic fails. The US Constitution was “permanent” yet our Founding Fathers and States voted for it. Like the US Constitution, the parties to the Compact can amend it.
They won’t let me (a legislator) modify the Compact.
Montana’s 1979 legislature wisely assigned the Compact commission authority to “conclude” the Compact negotiation. The Compact is a carefully balanced negotiated agreement and if any side makes a change it is an unethical rejection of the proposed agreement. After the Compact is approved, you can work to amend the Compact.
It’s different than the other six tribal compacts.
That’s because the treaties they signed were different and the conditions on their reservations are different. Different problems require different solutions.
The CSKT have no off-reservation water rights.
Your claim is most likely incorrect because Montana’s Compact attorneys disagree with you. You cannot prove your claim without resolving it in court and you can’t resolve it in court until you approve the Compact. Therefore, you must vote YES, then file a lawsuit against the Compact after it is approved. That way you won’t take down the State of Montana with you.
I’d rather reject the Compact and “let the chips fall where they may.”
You are a psychopath. Vote YES, then file your personal complaint against the approved Compact to “let the chips fall where they may” on you. That way you won’t take down the State of Montana with you.
Co-ownership of in-stream water rights creates confusion. Compact leaves too many questions unanswered.
Only to you. Others disagree. Vote YES then file your complaint or amendment. Don’t take down the State of Montana if you don’t understand the Compact.
I object to the CSKT’s “threat” to file 10,000 water rights claims. No one can “threaten” ME.
It’s not a “threat.” It’s reality. Just like a speeding locomotive will flatten you if you stand in its path. If Montana rejects the Compact then the CSKT MUST file for all their water rights by June 30, 2015 or lose them forever. If you can’t stand reality, you don’t belong in the Montana legislature.
The Compact is against my “principles.”
By their works we shall know them. You must judge your principles by the results they achieve, and not by how they make you “feel.” The most important “principle” is to vote to achieve the greater good. Therefore, you must base your vote decision on the issues in the second-row boxes.
I don’t trust the Federal government.
Then you better vote for the Compact. Reject the Compact and you will open the door for the feds to control Montana’s water. The feds will win the CSKT water rights claims in federal courts that feds control. The feds will overwhelm you with money and time. The only way to STOP the feds is to approve the Compact. Opponents have this one entirely backwards and it will cause their political demise.
In summary, if you don’t like the Compact, you lose nothing if you approve the Compact for the benefit of all Montanans and then file your complaints.
If you think the CSKT does not have off-reservation water rights, go for it. Prove your point in water courts … after you first approve the Compact for other Montanans who need the Compact.
Unless you are a psychopath, you will first vote to achieve the Compact’s benefits for all Montanans and then file your personal complaints without taking other Montanans down with you.
As we shall see, the Compact will achieve some very important benefits that Montanans can never recover if they reject the Compact.
Here are 3 really dumb reasons to oppose the Compact:
The Compact is globalist-funded, Agenda 21, United Nations plot and government conspiracy to take over all our water and land and kick us out of Montana. Compact supporters are Communist sympathizers.
The Compact has no connections to your conspiracy fears and you have not and cannot prove otherwise. You also believe our government uses chemtrails, HAARP, and geoengineering to poison you, change the weather, and control your mind. You do not belong in elected office where you must represent sane people.
The Compact gives control of western Montana water to the feds, takes state-based water rights from the Flathead Irrigation project irrigators, and will allow the CSKT to call water and shut down irrigation wells in 11 counties.
It’s just the opposite. This is what will happen if we reject the Compact. You do not belong in elected office where you must represent sane people.
The Compact will cost Montana $8 million the first year and a maximum total of $47 million in future years.
This money adds to Montana’s economy just like any public works project. This money pales in comparison to the $1.2 billion the feds will add to Montana’s economy if we approve the Compact, and to our legal costs if we reject the Compact.
Now let’s get to the real question before us.
How to evaluate the Compact
After we remove the complaints that should not affect our Compact vote, we ask the fundamental question:
“Will Montana be better served if we approve or reject the Compact?”
Once we approve the Compact, we will lock in advantages that we cannot achieve by defending against 10,000 individual water rights lawsuits.
Compact approval brings these benefits:
- It stops the federal government from controlling Montana’s water.
- It resolves all water rights issues between CSKT and Montana.
- It stops the CSKT from calling our water except from the Flathead River.
- It protects agriculture from senior Indian reserved water rights.
- It stops Oregon, Washington, and Idaho from calling Montana water.
- It requires CSKT to share in water deficiencies during droughts.
- It gives reservation irrigators their historic water use.
- It protects water-rights holders from losing their water claims.
- It brings Federal funds of about $1.2 billion to Irrigation project.
- It delivers Montana funds of $8 million in 2015, max of $47 million later.
- It allows additional 11,000 acre-feet of water for new development.
- It brings water certainty and builds Montana’s economy.
- It brings people, businesses, and money into Montana.
Compact approval includes these options:
- The three parties can amend the Compact.
- Opponents can make legal challenges to the Compact.
- Opponents can sue for more water rights.
- Opponents can sue and not take down the rest of Montanans with them.
Compact rejection brings these problems:
- It opens the door for the federal government to own and control Montana’s water.
- The feds will help CSKT file 10,000 water rights claims covering western Montana. Feds pay for all CSKT legal costs.
- It lets the feds divide and conquer Montanans, so they can go after us one by one.
- It will cost Montanans $1.8 billion in legal costs to defend against CSKT claims
- It will cost you your wealth and 30 years of your life to fight the feds-CSKT water claims. In the end, the feds will win.
- It will cost Montana taxpayers $73 million to fund the Montana Water Court.
- Even if Montanans beat the fed-CSKT lawsuits, Montana will never recover what it could have had under the Compact.
- 20-plus years of water uncertainty will destroy Montana’s economy.
- During a future drought, CSKT will call off-reservation water; Oregon, Washington, Idaho will call Montana water; and Montanans will kiss their water goodbye.
- Without control of its water, the drought will destroy Montana’s economy.
- When the dust settles, you will not recognize Montana.
- CSKT and feds will control Montana’s water.
- The Montana you knew will be gone.
- History will record Compact opponents destroyed Montana.
- Democrats will crossover vote to help eliminate all Republicans who vote NO on the Compact.
The Compact is not a partisan issue. It is a bipartisan issue. A bipartisan issue means we should put away our political differences and seek the truth.
As you know, I do not agree with the Democrats on climate. I am one among thousands of atmospheric scientists who tell you our carbon dioxide emissions do not drive our climate. The climate issue would be bipartisan if Democrats would first seek truth rather than political power.
Just as Democrats should work with Republicans on the climate issue, Republicans should work with Democrats to approve the CSKT Water Compact.
Seek the truth and the truth shall make you free.