crazed GOP state senator targets stream access

by problembear

of all the crazy tea party bills seeping through the walls of our state capitol these days, MT state Senator Debbie Barrett from Dillon takes the insanity prize for going up against Montana’s long tradition of stream access for all its citizens.

dysfunctional debbie and some guy named wellburn have cozied up to the most politically blind organizations and individuals in montana to conspire to take away a right to our rivers and streams that all montanans take for granted.

this guy says it better than i can.


  1. Lucky

    When you haven’t got a coherent argument you attack the messenger. This is pretty much SOP for the Factless Fox crowd. If TU disagrees with your opinion, it can’t be because you might be wrong, it must be that they are evil.

  2. there is talk around dillon that this bill is a foot in the door for landowners and big corporations to privatize access to streams in this state. wouldn’t surprise me if these lawmakers are in on a back door deal to profit by it.

    local fly fishing guides, motels, bars,and fly shops would be the first to lose business to exclusive clubs allowing members only to fish the blue ribbon waters of montana: we are talking many streams which allow irrigation including; the beaverhead, yellowstone, madison, big horn, big hole, missouri, jefferson, ruby, and the bitterroot river just to name a few of the more well known. it would probably endanger the ability of locals to be able to afford to fish our own streams.

    the evil is palpable here. barrett and wellburn are serving the wealthy here at the expense of their constituency. they should be ashamed of themselves and thrown out of office at the earliest possible opportunity by any montanan who likes to wet a line.

  3. here is an excellent link to find your state legistator’s phone numbers, email links, and addresses…..

    http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs041/1104524640497/archive/1104635257467.html

    for those who can make it, there will be a gathering in the capitol to support steam access in montana and to defeat this bill on march 8th ….

    When:
    Tuesday March 8th at 2:00

    Where:
    Room 303 of the Montana State Capitol Building.
    Hearing for HB309

  4. Lucky

    We Fish. We Vote and We’re taking names!

  5. klemz

    Anyone still got a copy of that 2008 supreme court opinion? I tried to find it the other day and came up empty. If them waters are public trust property (i.e. title navigable or whatever Montana’s standard is) then the state would violate its fiduciary duty by trying to give them away, which is essentially what reclassifying them as irrigation ditches would do.

    My point is, I’m not sure if the law would even stand if they passed it.

    • the Mitchell Slough case that found it was the river? The St. Mary’s Fork of the Bitterroot? Mapped in 1878 or something like that? By the government?

      Is that the case you’re talking about?

      Sorry There’s a number of cases. You bring up navigability, and that fiduciary thing wasn’t at play there.

      Fiduciary stuff and navigability comes up with PPL..but that was 2010 and is at SCOTUS.

      • klemz

        Yes, that’s the case I mean. The PPL and federal law have nothing to do with this.

        The baseline legal standard is that waters subject to the ebb and flow of the tide and waters that were navigable at the time of statehood are public trust (state) property and can’t be given away by the legislature. Many states go further as far as what waters are covered by the doctrine, so I wanted to see if Montana’s rule was stated in that case.

        It seems logical that the fact that the river existed before 1885, or whatever, would be relevant in determining navigability for public trust purposes. My instinct is that many of the waterways subject to HB 309 satisfy public-access-friendly Montana’s test, whatever it is. I just thought it would be in the Huey Lewis case.

        Then again, I could probably get a decisive answer if I stopped blogging and looked on the databases.

        Le tired.

    • i think the scuttlebutt is that this bill stands little chance of passing the state senate and if it by some miracle did pass schweitzer is not just planning on a simple veto. i think he is planning on shooting the thing with an ithaca ten gauge.

      the hook and bullet crowd and just all river floaters are seething mad at republicans over HR309. i pity whoever votes for this if it does pass. schweitzer and the voters are gonna make them pay.




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