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HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 11
INTRODUCED BY A. CURTISS, M. BRAINARD, R. JORE, B. MOLNAR, S. ORR, B. TASH
A JOINT RESOLUTION OF THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MONTANA ENCOURAGING THAT ANY NEW OR REVISED FEDERAL POLICY RECOGNIZE AND INCORPORATE WESTERN STATE AUTHORITIES AND INTERESTS IN WATER RESOURCE POLICIES AND ISSUES.
WHEREAS, the western states of the United States are critically dependent upon present and future water resources for their quality of life and economic base; and
WHEREAS, the western states are geographically, hydrologically, and economically diverse and distinct from each other and from the eastern states; and
WHEREAS, the western states have developed and customized a system of water allocation under the prior appropriation doctrine in response to the arid conditions of the region; and
WHEREAS, water resources in many of the major interstate river basins in the West are apportioned and administered through interstate and other compacts or court decrees between two or more states; and
WHEREAS, there has been a long-standing policy of federal deference to the states in the areas of water resources administration, management, allocation, and protection; and
WHEREAS, the western states have extensive experience in managing water resources, both surface and ground water supplies, and recognize the importance of protecting their water resources for present and future beneficial uses; and
WHEREAS, all western states have a system of law for allocation of water rights, and there is broad consensus within the federal system that states should continue to have the exclusive responsibility to create and administer water rights; and
WHEREAS, state water law provides for public participation and is based upon the allocation, transfer, and protection of water resources in the public interest; and
WHEREAS, the number of federal agencies involved in some aspect of water policy or management continues to increase, adding duplication, confusion, and conflicting missions to the historic state systems; and
WHEREAS, the U.S. Congress often considers legislation related to water resources management, some of which contains elements that could increase the federal role in water administration and conflict with the state's responsibility for water programs.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
That Montana's Congressional Delegation be respectfully requested to advocate to the appropriate federal agencies that any new or revised federal legislation or policy should:
(1) recognize that water resources administration, management, allocation, and protection are primarily the responsibility of the states and that federal policy should be supportive of this role of the western states;
(2) provide flexibility for states to continue to develop and refine water resource programs appropriate for their own circumstances, taking into consideration items such as hydrology, existing water rights, potential development of the area, interstate and other compact obligations, and the public interest;
(3) require all federal agencies to conduct their activities in accordance with, and in support of, state water resource programs and state water law; and
(4) recognize and cooperate with the states' prerogative and ability to manage, administer, and develop their water resources.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Secretary of State send copies of this resolution to the President of the United States, the Vice President of the United States, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate of the U.S. Congress, the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the U.S. Congress, and the Montana Congressional Delegation.
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Latest Version of HJ 11 (HJ0011.ENR)
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