The Montana Farm Bureau applauds the passage of the Montana Water Rights Protection Act out of the Committee on Indian Affairs. The legislation, which was introduced by Senator Steve Daines and co-sponsored by Senator Jon Tester, will define the federally reserved water rights of the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes and settle the legal claims of the Tribes against the federal government.

“The passage of the Montana Water Rights Protection Act is great news for Montana.  The legislation is a product of decades of negotiation and will settle farmers and ranchers water rights as far east as the Milk, Musselshell and Yellowstone rivers,” noted MFBF Executive Vice President John Youngberg. “This bipartisan bill and settlement is a good-faith compromise that will bring final resolution to a century-long water dispute, avoiding years of costly litigation.” 

“We especially want to thank bill sponsor Senator Steve Daines for all of his hard work to bring the bill to this point, and also thank Senator Tester for co-sponsoring this legislation,” Youngberg added. 

Supporters point out that the bill will rehabilitate aging infrastructure, conserve water resources for habitat, and most importantly, protect Indian and non-Indian water rights.