09.15.16

Daines Speaks on Historic Blackfeet Water Compact Vote

U.S. SENATE – United States Senator Steve Daines today took to the Senate floor to speak on the historic Blackfeet Water Compact vote in the U.S. Senate. 

As a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, Daines worked with Senator Jon Tester to include authorization for the Blackfeet Water Compact in the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which passed the Senate 95-3. 

“Today is a good day for Montana and the Blackfeet people. With the passage of the Water Resource Development Act, the Blackfeet Water Rights Resettlement Act is one step closer to the President’s desk. Today’s action marks the first time the compact has passed the Senate after being introduced four times since 2010,” Daines stated.

Daines’ full remarks on the Senate floor can be viewed here:

Daines’ full remarks:

“Mr. President, today is a good day for Montana and the Blackfeet people. With the passage of the Water Resources Development Act, the Blackfeet Water Rights Settlement Act is one step closer to the President’s desk.

“Today’s action marks the first time the compact has passed the Senate after being introduced four times since 2010.

“Today, for the first time this important legislation came to the Senate for a vote, and it passed. I along with my colleague, Senator Jon Tester, worked hard to make sure it made it through this time.

“The Blackfeet Water Settlement is long overdue and will not only establish the tribe’s water rights but will also facilitate real tangible benefits for the Blackfeet and surrounding communities.

“The bill will improve several federal water structures that are some of the oldest and most in need of repair in the country, and will help irrigate some of our most productive farmland in our state.

“The Blackfeet Water Rights Settlement Act also balances the need of the state and the local community. The Blackfeet Indian Reservation is located adjacent to Glacier National Park, and is some 1.5 million acres in size. There are 17,000 enrolled tribal members, about half of whom live on the reservation.

“This water settlement also upholds agreements by the state that will strengthen irrigation for neighboring farmlands. We call that area Montana’s Golden Triangle – in fact, it’s where my great-great-grandmother homesteaded – because of its wheat production. 

“I commend the Blackfeet Tribe, and Chairman Harry Barnes, who have been diligent and patient in seeing this settlement forward. I comment our state for its commitment to the Blackfeet Tribe and Indian country in Montana. And to my colleague Senator Tester for working with me on this bill.

“I’m proud to get this through the Senate and will continue to fight for its enactment.” 

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