A December 6th deadline is fast approaching for those wishing to file objections to water rights claims under the CSKT (Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes) Water Compact.

We spoke with Rick Jore, a former four-term lawmaker from the Mission Valley, who is encouraging Montanans to file objections with the Montana Water Court before the December deadline. Jore tells us "those folks that could be impacted by the tribal water rights recognized in the compact have a legal opportunity to object."

Rick Jore: The purpose of this kind of judicial review is not to ensure that the settlement is fair and reasonable between the negotiating parties, but that it is fair and reasonable to those parties, and the public interest, who were not represented in the negotiation, but have interests that could be material and materially injured by operation of the compact. So in my view, that includes a significant number of people, and we want them to be fully aware of their opportunity to file this objection, because the significance of it is, is that this is simply a preliminary decree. And the court has to consider these objections, before it enters a final decree of the entire compact.

Jore is also hopeful that the water court will extend the deadline beyond December 6th so more Montanans have the opportunity to comment.

Rick Jore: We're somewhat concerned and disappointed that perhaps not everyone who could be impacted by the compact received this letter. We've had numerous public meetings here- actually six of them in three different counties- and probably 150, one probably twice that many people were there, and usually when we asked who all received the letter, it's fewer than half of the individuals at the meetings receive the letters. So we're trying to get the word out. And my understanding, just so people know, is that the water court may grant an extension beyond the December 6 deadline, but I can't say that with certainty.

Here is a story from The Daily Inter Lake that we referenced during our interview with more background info on the CSKT Water Compact. And here is the website that Rick Jore is recommending for more info for those who want to file objections with the water court.

Here's the full audio of our chat with Rick Jore:


By the way- check out the below video of the Kerr Dam near Polson, Montana with all of its gates open.

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