Montana Public Radio

Montana Water Rights Protection Act

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Water Compact narrowly passed the state Legislature in 2015 after more than a decade of negotiation. It settles water rights in and around the Flathead Reservation.
David Wiley (CC-BY-2)

A group of 27 state Republican legislators are asking federal lawmakers to hold a hearing on the federal Montana Water Rights Protection Act in Kalispell. The group includes prominent opponents to the legislation.

If passed, the bill would be the largest water-rights settlement agreement in history between the U.S. Government and a federally recognized tribe. The Montana Water Rights Protection Act would settle a decades-long dispute over thousands of water-rights claims filed by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Water Compact narrowly passed the state Legislature in 2015 after more than a decade of negotiation. It settles water rights in and around the Flathead Reservation.
David Wiley (CC-BY-2)

The U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee held its first hearing Wednesday on the Montana Water Rights Protection Act. The legislation would settle long-disputed water rights claims of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

Watering a field.
iStock

Montana Senator Steve Daines and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes announced Thursday that they have come to a new agreement that would settle thousands of the tribes’ water rights claims.

Daines says he will introduce legislation next week that, if approved by Congress, will bring more than a decade of negotiation over the tribes’ water rights to an end. Daines was not available for an interview, but provided this recorded comment.