The People’s Compact
Keith Regier November 24, 2018 Excellence in Voting
I suspect that the one thing that nearly everyone in Montana can agree upon is that the 2015 CSKT Water Compact was and still is one of the most divisive legislation ever to be produced from the state of Montana. Four years after its questionable passage in the Legislature, and two years after Sen. Tester’s grossly expanded version died in the U.S. Senate, we are no closer to either understanding what was in the CSKT Compact nor why it differed so wildly from every other compact in Montana and across the United States.
What time has revealed is that the only beneficiaries from the CSKT Compact were the three governments involved; the CSKT Tribal Council, the state of Montana and the federal government. The people of Montana, tribal members, residents of the Flathead Reservation and Sanders, Lake and Flathead counties were left out and left behind. Eastern Montana citizens were punished by the Tribes’ filing of 10,000 water rights claims on their private property, leaving a cloud of uncertainty over two-thirds of the state.
Determined to find a permanent solution to the legitimate federal reserved water rights of the CSKT, and anxious to heal the wounds created by the division, citizens from across the state of Montana have developed an alternative solution to the CSKT Compact called The People’s Compact. The cornerstones of the People’s Compact include the quantification of the CSKT federal reserved water rights, the resolution of an outstanding water claim filed by the Tribes in 1951, and a settlement fund that provides for the development of the Tribes’ federal reserved water rights.
In the next few months, the Peoples’ Compact will be introduced and discussed across Montana in workshops, meetings and on the radio. I hope you can join in some of these discussions and informational workshops to learn more about the effort and process of getting this document directly to Congress as a viable alternative for consideration in the resolution of the federal reserved water rights of the CSKT. In the meantime, information on the People’s Compact can be found at www.thepeoplescompact.wordpress.com
— Sen. Keith Regier represents District 3
Please take a moment to listen to Dr. Al Olszewski and Dr. Kate Vandemoer on Voices of Montana on November 21, 2018.