Stream access bill snags on specifics. By Jennifer McKee. Helena Independent State Bureau.

The proposed Stockgrower’s Association amendment would make the stream access bill largely meaningless.

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Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

5 Responses to Montana Stockgrowers screws up stream access bill at the last minute

  1. avatar jdubya says:

    And these groups wonder why no one wants to try to work with them?? As I read the article the stockgrowers group worked on the bill but then, at the last minute, said they would oppose it? The Farm Bureau of Utah did the same thing on the wolf management plan (if you can call it that) when they participated throughout the process, signed off on it, and then, the day of the hearings, said they would oppose it and instead circulated their own list of demands. No honor amongst thieves.

    It is too bad this has happened to the Montana bill. We were looking for it as guidance to the Utah legislature which this year will act to strip stream access from our list of citizen’s rights that were awarded to us by a unanimous Utah Supreme Court ruling last spring. Where we may have expected some level of compromise with the legislature, we probably won’t get it with the Montana mess as a legislative example.

  2. avatar Salle says:

    Looks like a desperate attempt to derail a good policy for the sake of perhaps flexing some atrophied political muscle.

  3. Few people are pointing out the potential damage being done to Montana’s fishing/tourist economy by this last-minute about-face on the access – damage that can be laid directly at the feet of the stockgrowers.

    They’re certainly practiced at sticking out their hands for public money whenever something happens to them; are they going to pony up to support those damaged by their suit?

    Montana’s enlightened stream access laws have been under continual fire for years. James Kennedy Cox just lost (badly) his lawsuit trying to limit public access in Mitchell Slough, and while the Montana Stockgrowers association has seen fit to try and eliminate public access to streams at public crossings, I have hope this attempt will also fail.

  4. The MT Stockgrowers seem to be an all purpose bad bunch. They show up on the anti-wildlife, anti-public side in issue after issue in Montana — elk, bison, wolves, fishing, Yellowstone Park.

    The Cattle Association seems to be a rival and not so negative.

  5. avatar Mulbay says:

    This is just another chapter in the attempt by a few well heeled large landowners such as Kennedy, Huey Lewis and others to eliminate access to the publicly owned streams running through their estates. The Stock Growers Association is nothing more than a surregate of these special interests and is mirroring this narrow legal interpretation in a tactic to delay the passage of a bill that threatens the success of their rich friends latest desperate attempt to get their way in the courts. The Montana legislature is technically not bound to the wishes of Stock Growers to pass this legislation. Hopefully they will display the wisdom and courage to pass the bill as it stands.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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