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Kearns and Sons

Another government takeover

The federal government is in the process of closing down the nation’s natural resources and thereby our wealth. Here in Montana the primary current risk is water which may become managed and controlled by the federal government through administration of the upcoming CSKT WATER USE COMPACT soon to be voted on by the Montana state legislature. The decision would impact some 350,000 people living both on the reservation as well as throughout eleven western counties from the Canadian border down to Butte, and to the western border.

Already the U.S. Forest Service in combination with Fish and Wildlife have effectively eliminated the timber industry. Bureau of Land Management is terminating grazing leases and mining. Now underway are lock-ups of vast amounts of “open space” lands primarily through conservation easements eliminating natural resource development. CE encumbered private lands ultimately and most assuredly lead to governmental acquisition. Obama may still declare “national monuments” preventing oil and gas extraction. The ever expanding “Crown of the Continent” eats its way without apparent end into regions adjoining parks and other protected areas. Even local Planning and Zoning regulations call for stream set-backs, unbuildable steep slopes, numerous wetlands and wildlife/habitat protected areas on private land. Impacting profitability for farmers and ranchers is the steady increase of environmental operational demands, including wolf introduction and increased insurance for recreationists expecting access to private land. The federal government is on a giant “land grab”.

The proposed reserved water rights compact for the Salish/Kootenai tribes has experienced 12 years of planning by numerous high salaried attorneys, hydrologists and other professionals (funding source and ultimate objectives undisclosed). It is scheduled for early action by the incoming state legislature. Land and water availability are closely linked, impacting returns on investment. Property values determine economic health of business, industry and personal.

In Montana all lands owned or held by any Indian or Indian tribe are held in trust by the federal government. The Montana State Constitution claims full force of absolute jurisdiction and control by the U.S. Congress. Federal Government influence and direction has essentially been initiated through the tribes, giving appearance of excessive “tribal” demands related to water use and availability. Utilizing tribal dictate the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would even be able to eventually introduce rulings enforcing basically unachievable water quality standards. All such costly mandates put pressure on land owners, reducing land value and salability while holding real estate agents responsible for non-exposure of risks.

Meanwhile governmental agencies, primarily federal and/or tribal, are in position to buy up “cheap” private property made available due to excessive regulation. Governmental agencies, including federally owned Indian reservations, being “non-profit” entities, qualify to buy up “contractual property management rights” held by land trusts (usually The Nature Conservancy). Land/water management/manipulation schemes could easily set precedence for Indian reservations nationwide, as well as vast dwindling regions of land being gobbled up, thus evolving into socialistic ownership and control of property.

Many varieties of federal land grab schemes are underway exposing motives of those in power. We need to be informed and help elected officials make the right decisions regarding compact documents. Refer to the following:
Montana: http://www.dnrc.mt.gov/rwrcc/Compacts/CSKT/Default.asp and
CSKT: http://www.cskt.org/tr/nrd_waternegotiations.htm

Clarice Ryan
Bigfork

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