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Senate Committee passes Montana Water Rights Protection Act

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Town Crier “Briefs from the Region” (2) – 7/31/20

For decades, a struggle has ensued to define the federally reserved water rights of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Water Compact. This week, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs cast a unanimous, bipartisan vote to pass the Montana Water Rights Protection Act, which was introduced by Sen. Steve Daines and co-sponsored by Sen. Jon Tester. The vote is a significant milestone in a portion of Montana State Legislature that began in 2015 and with the committee’s approval the act can be voted on by the U.S. Senate. The Trump Administration praised the move, calling it a “cost-saving measure” for taxpayers and the economic activity it would generate, which would exceed $744 million in the first decade.

“We appreciate the work and time Sen. Daines has put into crafting a compromise that will create over 6,000 jobs and protect the water resources of all Montanans,” said FARM Co-Chair Lorents Grosfield. “The introduction of this legislation has been long awaited by water users across our state and is critical to ensuring the availability of water for future generations of Montanans.”

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