MFBF applauds the passage of the Montana Water Rights Protection Act out of the Committee on Indian Affairs. The legislation was introduced by Senator Steve Daines and co-sponsored by Senator Jon Tester.
We may never know when a personal comment might actually change the direction of a law or policy.
U.S. Senator Steve Daines (R – MT) has introduced federal legislation, cosponsored by U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D - MT), that ratifies the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes water compact.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said WOTUS vastly and unclearly expanded the definition of “Waters of the United States” beyond the limits imposed by Congress and affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court.
A federal court says the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule is unlawful under the Clean Water Act because of its “vast expansion of jurisdiction over waters and land traditionally within the states’ regulatory authority.”
HB 286 clarifies that the state of Montana may only obtain an ownership interest in a water right or ground water development works if a court determines the state is an owner of that water right or if the state is in possession of a deed transferring ownership of the water right.
“It’s fantastic to see common sense has returned to Washington, D.C. and especially to the EPA. This new rule will provide a clear direction for farmers and communities to follow” said McPherson, a diversified farmer from Stevensville.
South Carolina District Court’s injunction of the Waters of the United States ruling further emphasizes the importance of passing legislation that once and for all drives a stake in the 2015 rule and sends EPA back to the table to draft a workable solution.
The American Farm Bureau Federation has filed a brief in support of 13 states—including Montana— challenging the EPA’s 2015 “Waters of the United States” rule before a federal district court in North Dakota.
The debate regarding effective regulation of exempt wells in Montana continues. MFBF is at the table representing agriculture and working toward collaborative solutions.