Flathead Irrigators Testify in Strong Support Compact


February 16th, 2015

Hertha Lund
​406-​ 599-5154

Flathead Irrigators Testify in Strong Support Compact

(Helena, Mont)—Today irrigators from all parts of the Flathead valley stormed the Capitol to urge their elected officials and those on the Senate Judiciary Committee to pass the CSKT Water Compact.

Jack Horner, an irrigator who runs a family ranch on the Flathead Indian Reservation, referenced how those who depend on reliable access to our water resources support the Compact the most.

“Those who oppose the Compact do not speak for the majority of farmers and ranchers who live on the Flathead Indian reservation,” said Horner. “The CSKT Compact is a win for anybody who is willing to open their eyes and look at the facts.”

Horner and the other irrigators explained the Compact as an agreement that would not only benefit farmers and ranchers by protecting existing water rights, but would open up new water resources to be used as well.

“Passing the Compact is a no-brainer to me,” said Wayne Scammon, who has irrigated on the reservation for 51 years. “We have to get the CSKT Compact passed so we can continue to do business and make ends meet. We cannot afford the consequences if the Compact fails.”

Scammon noted that not only will failure to pass the Compact result in millions of dollars in litigation, but will also hurt the local economy as members of agriculture industries will be spending valuable financial resources defending their water rights.

“If the Compact doesn’t pass we’ll be faced with millions of dollars in litigation costs and lost revenue resulting from water rights uncertainty—not to mention legal proceedings that will last for decades,” continued Scammon. “Failing to pass the Compact will have economic repercussions, not just in Western Montana, but across the state.”

Numerous agriculture and water use groups joined the irrigators in their support of the Compact, including the Montana Farm Bureau Federation, Montana Stockgrowers, and Montana Water Resources Association.

Commonsense Citizens for the CSKT Compact (CCCC) is a private, non-partisan organization comprised of farmers, ranchers, and business people on the Flathead Indian Reservation, and their supporters. CCCC’s goal is to present factual information about the Compact and to support its passage during the 2015 Legislature.