The following was written by Terry Backs ~ St. Ignatius
The legislature killed the existing proposed compact for good reason. Without substantive changes to the compact, starting with its flawed assumptions, it will not garner the support necessary to reach an agreement that will work for all of western Montana.
With this in mind, several legislators approached Concerned Citizens of Western Montana (CCWM), and requested the development of an alternative compact to show what a compact should have looked like had state interests been properly represented in negotiations. This document was also intended to dispel the notion that there were no viable alternatives to the false choice presented to the public of “this compact or litigation.”
In July, we released a critical review of the existing proposed CSKT compact, and an alternative comparative compact. Copies were sent to the Compact Commission, Governor Bullock, Attorney General Fox, and the Tribes. These documents are posted on our website at: www.westernmtwaterrights.wordpress.com
The Critical Review establishes a factual analysis of the flawed assumptions and major issues with the Compact Documents. The Alternative Comparative Compact accomplishes what the proposed compact failed to do: it provides a quantification of the amount of water necessary to fulfill the purpose of the Flathead Reservation, the very purpose of negotiations. It is a straightforward document that looks at benefits to all parties in negotiations, and is not a one sided, overreaching document. It addresses the administration of water the reservation, and does not include water for aboriginal treaty rights off the reservation. Instead of distractions such as a water use agreement, the alternative keeps the focus on the quantification of the tribe’s federal reserved water right — nothing more, nothing less.
Both documents are clear, concise and easy to read. Please take time to read them. They will help clear up much of the confusion, and will serve to show the public there are alternatives that can result in a win-win solution for all.