Zinke and Daines hail passage of Blackfeet Water Compact
December 30, 2016
U.S. CONGRESS —U.S. Representative Ryan Zinke and Senator Steve Daines today hailed the passage of the Blackfeet water compact in the Water Infrastructure Improvements Act for the Nation (WIIN) Act. The authorization of Blackfeet water compact is included in the Water Infrastructure Improvements Act for the Nation (WIIN) Act, which includes the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). The WIIN Act authorizes the Blackfeet water compact and ends decades of litigation and paves the way for more than 400 million of investment water, irrigation and infrastructure projects. The U.S. House Natural Resource Committee passed this legislation on November 16, 2016 and passed the WIIN Act on December 8, 2016.
"I'm incredibly proud and humbled to work with our Senators and the Tribe to deliver this historic victory for the Blackfeet Nation," said Congressman Zinke. "The Blackfeet are warriors and they have given up so much during this long process. Water is more than a drinking source to the Blackfeet, it's their life source and we must respect and honor their culture and rights. I'm grateful for the guidance of Chairman Barnes through this process. The Blackfeet have waited long enough for this compact, but their day has finally come."
"Today is a historic day for the Blackfeet Tribe, Montana farmers, ranchers and families, " Daines stated. "The Blackfeet water compact will update decades old infrastructure, strengthen irrigation for agriculture and protect habitat."
Blackfeet Tribal Chairman Harry Barnes: "On behalf of the Blackfeet Nation, as Chairman, I extend my congratulations and deepest gratitude to Senator Daines, Senator Tester and Representative Zinke for helping us to shepherd the Blackfeet water compact through Congress. It's been a somewhat tumultuous journey, but all of the Montana delegation has steadfast supported the Blackfeet for which we are indebted. This is an historic event for the Blackfeet. While we still have steps, we have never been this far. For a ten year battle, we finally see some sunlight and we owe that in a large part to the Montana delegation. We as the Blackfeet tribe look forward to continuing to work with Senator Daines, Senator Tester and Representative Zinke on the issues that are good for not only the Blackfeet Tribe but for the state of Montana."