MTPR

Rob McDonald

Seli’š Ksanka Qlispe’ Dam, formerly Kerr Dam
Bill Barrett (CC-BY-SA-3)


Death and taxes are supposedly two certainties in life. But at the moment, in Lake County, property taxes aren’t so certain.

 

The county is suing the state Department of Revenue over one property -- the Seli’š Ksanka Qlispe’ (say-LISH kuh-ZAHN-kuh kud-LEE-speh) Dam, formerly known as the Kerr Dam, which the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes bought from NorthWestern Energy last year.

 

The sale was negotiated in 1985 by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

 

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes have scheduled a public meeting on the proposed transfer of the National Bison Range.
Josh Burnham (CC-BY-2)

Debate over transferring federal public lands to state ownership or management has largely dominated Montana’s U.S. House race between the main party candidates.

Across the country, some state lawmakers and members of Congress are pushing to transfer federal lands to state ownership or control, a movement that has gained traction and created some controversy.

Incumbent Republican Ryan Zinke and challenger Democrat Denise Juneau both say their stances on these issues are clear.

“I have always been a strong supporter of public lands and have voted against the transfer or sale of public lands," Zinke says. "My position is known and well established.”

Denise Juneau says, “I remain 100 percent opposed to any transfer of management or selling of American public lands.”

The candidates have sparred over whether votes Zinke has taken in Congress, or Juneau on the state’s land board, are consistent with those statements.

Less talked about, though, is one case where the management of nearly 19,000 federally-managed acres in Northwest Montana could change hands.

An informational sign at the entrance of the National Bison Range.
Josh Burnham

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Friday said they’ve modified their proposal to take over management of the National Bison Range.

The tribes released draft federal legislation in June that would transfer management of the range to them from the agency that’s in control now, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Judge James Manley today ruled the portion of the water compact unconstitutional that protects members of a yet-to-be-created water compact board from being sued.
Flickr user Brad Smith (CC-BY-NC-2.0)

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes were encouraged by the first U.S. Senate hearing of their water compact settlement with the State of Montana. Senator Jon Tester introduced the legislation to Congress last month.

There’s a public meeting in Pablo tonight about the proposed transfer of the National Bison Range to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.
USFWS (CC-BY-2)

A lawsuit filed Monday is challenging the federal government’s support for transferring management of the National Bison Range to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

Flickr, Peggy2012CREATIVELENZ

A committee of state lawmakers said this week they still don’t they have enough information to recommend passage of the long-awaited Flathead Water Rights Compact.

The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation submitted a report to the Water Policy Interim Committee which was intended to answer lawmaker’s questions about the compact after the document was tabled by the 2013 Legislature. Committee Chairman Sen. Chas Vincent (R-Libby) said the report did not fully accomplish that goal.

Flickr, Peggy2012CREATIVELENZ

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes are now mulling their options after the 2013 Montana Legislature failed to pass the Flathead Water Rights Compact; but CSKT officials are hopeful the agreement can be passed by the 2015 Legislature.