Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Update on the Montana Stream Access Proposal

The guys at Chi Wulff posted an update on the Stream Access fight in the Montana legislature. It seems as though it didn't go to floor for voting on Monday as TU indicated. Hopefully that means there is not enough support amongst the legislators to even vote. The Chi Wulff post links to an article from the Montana Standard about the bill. Here is the quote that should scare every angler in the west:

"But in testimony before the House agriculture committee, the attorney for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks said the bill would obliterate the state's stream access law. Bob Lane, FWP chief legal counsel, said the provision of the bill that defines any stream that gets the majority of its water from return irrigation flows would privatize virtually every river in the state.
"HB 309 almost completely repeals the public's right to recreate on rivers and streams," he said. "The most comprehensive and partially hidden but intended effect of HB 309 is that return flows would count as diverted water when determining whether diverted water is the principle source of water in a stream or river.
"HB 309 as written defines the Bitterroot River as a ditch."

Other tidbits to note:

  • It appears this is a result of the Huey Lewis issue from a couple of years ago. That fact makes me once again regret my decision to buy his album Sports when I was 12. And that is not even taking into account the fact that the music sucked.
  • Jeff Wellborn, the rep who introduced the bill, says it will not affect the stream access law. But the attorney's testimony (as quoted above) seems to indicate that Wellborn is lying or maybe he doesn't know what he is doing (or that the attorney for Montana FWP is way off base). 
  • Contact the folks who will ultimately vote (the legislators) and let them know you are pissed. 

1 comment:

  1. That's good news(I think). Huey Lewis: what a d$#k.