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Dec 5, 2019   |  

MTN NEWS: Flathead water dispute is already generating positive reaction

By: MTN News

MISSOULA — The proposed settlement of the Flathead water dispute is generating action from the principal players who been working on the issue for years.

Senator Jon Tester, who had introduced a bill attempting to get Congress to endorse the Flathead Water Compact in 2016, tells MTN News the settlement between the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and the federal government is very positive, because it keeps the claims from years of litigation.

"Yeah, you've got the uncertainty of waiting. ... The fact of the matter is the best way to do this pass the bill that's basically the bill the Legislature passed, get it through the process, get it sent back to the Reservation folks that live there and get it done. I think it has much more certainty and reduces litigation big time." said Senator Jon Tester.

The settlement would replace the Flathead Water Compact that was developed over years of hearings, meetings and work, and approved by the Montana Legislature and signed by Governor Bullock and C-S-K-T tribal leaders in 2015.

But as Tester points out, that work is still folded into the agreement. And tribal leaders are also welcoming a resolution of an issue that's been a concern for generations.

"Our tribe's Chairman, Ronald Trahan, said this will work." said Robert McDonald the CSKT Communications Director. "It will get the job done."

He added that this bill will insure the protection of the vital resources while seeing to the needs of the greater community. The tribes on this reservation worked hard to be good neighbors, and sometimes that means making tough decisions which serve the entire community."

The tribe notes settlement will "fund performance of critical restoration and mitigation work on streams and wetlands that have been impacted by the irrigation project over the last century, benefiting fisheries, wildlife, and the public."

Office Contact Information

Senator Tester's Montana staff serves the state from offices in Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, and Missoula. Please bring your concerns with federal agencies, academy nominations, and other situations to one of these Montana offices.


Judge Jameson Federal Building
2900 4th Ave N, Suite 201
Billings, MT 59101
Phone: (406) 252-0550
Fax: (406) 252-7768


Avant Courier Building
1 E Main Street, Suite 202
Bozeman, MT 59715
Phone: (406) 586-4450
Fax: (406) 586-7647


Silver Bow Center
125 W Granite, Suite 200
Butte, MT 59701
Phone: (406) 723-3277
Fax: (406) 782-4717

Great Falls

119 1st Avenue N, Suite 102
Great Falls, MT 59401
Phone: (406) 452-9585
Fax: (406) 452-9586


Capital One Center
208 N Montana Avenue, Suite 202
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 449-5401
Fax: (406) 449-5462


8 Third Street E
Kalispell, MT 59901
Phone: (406) 257-3360
Fax: (406) 257-3974


130 W Front St.
Missoula, MT 59802
Phone: (406) 728-3003
Fax: (406) 728-2193

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