07.11.17

Montana, North Dakota Delegations Urge Support for Critical Dam

U.S. CONGRESS —U.S. Senators Steve Daines (R-MT), Jon Tester (D-MT), John Hoeven (R-ND) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and U.S. Representatives Greg Gianforte (R-MT) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND) today voiced strong support for the Lower Yellowstone Irrigation Project (LYIP) which provides a critical source of water for farmers and ranchers in Montana and North Dakota. 

The members sent a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation urging those agencies to continue to support the project and not reallocate funding currently provided for the LYIP. 

On July 5, U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris granted an injunction that will further delay construction on the fish passage around the LYIP weir.

“This project is critical to close to four hundred farms and irrigates over 50,000 acres of cropland,” the members wrote. “That is why we also encourage you to address the concerns of the Court and conduct the necessary analyses in a timely manner, thereby ensuring that this essential source of water for farmers, ranchers, and communities throughout much of northeastern Montana and northwestern North Dakota is not unduly disrupted.” 

The letter is available to download HERE and below: 

Acting Assistant Secretary Lamont and Acting Commissioner Mikkelsen:

We write regarding the latest decision of the U.S. District Court of Montana (Court) to enjoin construction at the Lower Yellowstone Irrigation Project (LYIP) and direct the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) and Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) to provide additional evidence of the benefits the LYIP would provide to impacted species prior to proceeding with construction.

We urge ACE and BOR to continue to support this vital project and provide assurances to Congress and stakeholders that funding currently allocated for this project will not be transferred or reduced while ACE and BOR conduct further analyses. 

This project is critical to close to four hundred farms and irrigates over 50,000 acres of cropland. That is why we also encourage you to address the concerns of the Court and conduct the necessary analyses in a timely manner, thereby ensuring that this essential source of water for farmers, ranchers, and communities throughout much of northeastern Montana and northwestern North Dakota is not unduly disrupted. Additionally, if the agencies have not already done so, we urge ACE and BOR to develop and implement an interim plan to manage the existing intake dam should the project continue to be enjoined. 

As ACE and BOR move forward in addressing the issues detailed by the Court, we request ACE and BOR act in as expeditious a manner as possible. Thank you for your consideration of this critically important issues, and we look forward to your prompt response.

Sincerely, 

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