This session has had it's host of bad bills per usual, below is one that desperately needs a veto. Please consider writing a quick letter to Governor Bullock, we could use all the help we can get.
Tell Governor Bullock to veto SB 347, which allows the mining industry to dry up streams, harm fish and rob from existing water rights with little accountability.
SB 347, sponsored by Sen. Chas Vincent (R-Libby) recently passed the Montana Senate and House. This awful bill exempts the massive groundwater pumping performed by mining companies from being reviewed under the "nondegradation" policy in Montana's Water Quality Act. Pumping for mining can significantly reduce important groundwater recharge to streams. Nondegradation review and standards are the only legal backstop available for protecting existing water right holders from losing water to groundwater pumping that they have a legal right to.
Contact Governor Steve Bullock NOW and tell him in your own words to veto SB 347! Here is why:
- Besides threatening water rights of irrigators, cities and hydro producers, this bill threatens flows for fish. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks holds instream flow rights for fisheries on blue ribbon trout streams, such as the Blackfoot, Big Hole and Smith Rivers, all which could be threatened by massive groundwater pumping for proposed mines next to key tributaries. Other streams threatened by mining related pumping of groundwater include the Bull River and Jefferson River, as well as Basin Creek in the upper Clark Fork watershed and Otter Creek in the Tongue River basin.
- Studies for one proposed mine in the Cabinet Mountains indicates it will significantly deplete flows in a key bull trout spawning reach of the East Fork of the Bull River - a reach of river that is inside a designated wilderness. The effect could last for decades after the mine closes.
- The bill allows the mining industry to harm water rights, which are a private property right, without requiring mitigation or compensation.
- An amendment added to the bill ostensibly to protect fish is wishy-washy, unclear and will invite lawsuits.
Tell Governor Bullock not to give the mining industry this special gift. Tell him the mining industry should get a water right for pumping large amounts of groundwater - just like every other large user of groundwater in Montana -- so that existing owners of water rights, including FWP, can formally object if they will be harmed. Remind him of the promises he made to protect the interests of anglers, other recreationists and agriculture. TELL HIM TO VETO SB 347.
Contact Governor Bullock at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the legislation, contact:
Mark Aagenes at email@example.com.
Stay Informed! Get involved! Check www.montanatu.org for important updates.
Thank you for doing your part to make a difference.