In water law, the most important thing is getting your water.
Montana’s Senator Steve Daines has introduced the Montana Water Rights Protection Act (MWRPA) to provide federal settlement of the water rights claims of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT). Without this legislation, Montana will face years of expensive litigation and uncertainty in trying to resolve these claims and will assuredly reach a worse conclusion.
This is due to the undeniable fact that in water law, a settlement allows you to structure protection for junior water rights in a way that a trial does not. And make no mistake, the junior water rights being protected by this settlement are the non-Tribal water rights. To put it in blunt terms, the non-Tribal farmers and ranchers, both on and off the Reservation, have the most to gain from this settlement, and the most to lose from litigation.