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Compact: Overreaching by collusion?

| December 8, 2022 12:00 AM

Regarding the pending preliminary decree of the Flathead Compact, Mr. Chris Tweeten, lawyer and 1985 Montana governor appointee to the Reserved Water Rights Compact Commission (RWRCC), was caught on tape in 2012 at a public meeting stating, "We agreed to do this extraordinary thing, frankly, with respect to agreeing to subject or to remove non-Indian rights on the reservation from the jurisdiction and control of the state and place that somewhere else at the tribe's request."

Who gave the RWRCC authority to subject non-Indians or to remove non-Indians from the jurisdiction and control of the state, at the request of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes? The Montana Water Court just completed the objection phase of the Flathead Compact's preliminary decree. In June 2022, the Court issued a letter to a minority of affected western Montana landowners which stated on page 2 "This will be your only opportunity to object to the Preliminary Decree."

I am grateful for the pioneering spirit of the Equal Water Rights organization, funded by Bill & Irene, LLC, for promoting the message that the Court "must reach a reasoned judgment that the compact is not the product of fraud or overreaching by, or collusion between the negotiating parties."

Montana is the Watershed State, Treasure State and The Last Best Place due to the abundant clean water. Overreaching by collusion among the negotiating parties may indeed exist. I applaud Bill & Irene, LLC for filing significant Water Court objections that are intended to be quite revealing to protect theirs and everyone's water rights. I pray that the Court realizes that there are many thousands of other people who did not file an objection, but who also oppose all that this compact stands for.

David Passieri

St. Ignatius

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