CSKT Water Compact Bill Introduced in Montana State Senate


February 3rd, 2015

Shelby DeMars

CSKT Water Compact Bill Introduced in Montana State Senate

(Helena, Mont.)—Today the CSKT Water Compact, supported by Montana’s largest farm and ranch organizations, was introduced by Senator Chas Vincent (R-SD1) in the Montana State Senate.

Senator Vincent, who served as the Chairman of the legislative Water Policy Interim Committee ​and ​worked extensively on the revised CSKT Compact, stated that he supports the Compact and the improvements made by the Reserved Water Rights Compact Commission that voted unanimously to move the Compact forward for legislative approval.​

“It is critical that we protect our water resources and ensure existing water rights are protected,” said Sen. Vincent. “I strongly believe that this bipartisan legislation will protect Montana’s agriculture industries and all water users, while clearly defining the rights of the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes.”

​The bi-partisan bill has been co-sponsored by the majority of members of the Water Policy Interim Committee:

Water Policy Interim Committee Co-Sponsors:
Rep. Pat Connell (R)
Rep. Steve Fitzpatrick (R)
Rep. Kathleen Williams (D)
Sen. Bradley Hamlett (D)
Sen. Sharon Stewart-Peregoy (D)

Many agriculture and water use groups across the state have also united in support of Sen. Vincent’s bill. ​

​”The largest agriculture and water use groups in the state stand firmly behind this bill,” said Shelby DeMars, spokesperson for Farmers And Ranchers for Montana (FARM)​, a coalition supporting the Compact. “Anyone who has truly taken the time to read the Compact knows that it will benefit the people of Montana and prevent Montanans form shouldering millions of dollars in court costs.”

The bill, SB 262 (LC1999), will have its first hearing in the coming weeks, the date of which has yet to be determined, and will be preceded by an educational session for legislators this coming Saturday, February 7th in Room 303 of the Montana State Capitol. The informational session will start at 10:00 am or upon the completion of the House & Senate floor session and is slated to last until 1:00 pm.

Tomorrow, all legislators will be provided a zip drive with electronic copies of the entire Compact, including all appendices, as well as summary documents, content guides, and other supplemental material. Hard copies will also be available to all legislators upon request.

​A copy of the bill can be accessed here. The full text of the Compact can be found at the DNRC website:

Farmers And Ranchers for Montana (FARM), is a coalition of hundreds of farmers and ranchers, united with local leaders, tribal governments, businesses, water-users, and other Montanans who support the approval of a Water Compact.

For more information please visit