HB 339 would functionally overturn a Supreme Court decision last year that protected Montana’s water resources and property rights from sprawl. The bill would re-open the exempt well loophole that the Montana Supreme Court wisely closed last year, and give developers the right to take the water before those who are legally entitled to use that water first.
It’s bad policy based on bad science and will deplete streamflows, undermine senior water rights, increase sprawl, and spark conflict among water users. It’s irresponsible, putting development before water security and our prized fisheries. It’s unfair, letting subdivisions cut in line to grab water before everyone else – including those with senior rights. It’s bad science, imposing arbitrary guidelines for water use in a state with complex hydrology and already over-allocated streams.
For more information, visit the Clark Fork Coalition’s Fact Sheet on exempt wells!