LETTER: Water compact not as rosy as advertised?

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I just saw the full page ad in the April 27 Daily Inter Lake (and numerous other papers around the state) supporting the Montana Water Compact. This endorsement was placed in the papers by Farmers and Ranchers for Montana (FARM), an organization that must be truly desperate!

Given that the reservation is actually federally owned property, and the federal government (through their unconstitutional establishments like the BLM, EPA, USDA, DOI, etc.) are ramping up the taking of our land and water here in the West, this so-called grassroots organization is either totally misguided or has huge vested interest in ramming the compact through U.S. Congress.

“Secures stable, reliable access to water.” Right. Access to water, not water rights! And for how long will we have “access,” I wonder? And consider this; all authority for the administration of the water system will be vested in the tribes.

“Repairs critical irrigation infrastructure.” Sure … and the tribes (read feds) will pay for it with OUR tax dollars.

“Creates jobs and strengthens our agricultural economy.” Ask yourself, jobs for whom? Maybe for a few tribal members, and that would be for a very few. Most likely these would be federal jobs. And the compact certainly will not strengthen our agricultural economy. This travesty is meant to lay waste to our agriculture.

“Improves water management during drought conditions.” If you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you. Ask those whose irrigation water was turned off last summer just long enough to allow their crops to perish!

“Respects property rights and removes uncertainty.” Wow! Ask ranchers and farmers in Oregon, Nevada or Wyoming how that’s working out!

Wake up, Montana. This travesty must be stopped.

—Laura O’Neil, Kalispell

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