A lawsuit has been dismissed that sought to overturn a 2019 law halting the state’s practice of acquiring partial water rights when water is diverted from private land onto state land. The suit contended the law harmed the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation’s ability to negotiate lease terms with respect to water rights and that forced divestment of valuable water rights diminishes the value of state lands under the state’s constitutional trust duties.
Conservation groups are concerned a change in how water quality is measured in Montana could lead to more pollution in the state’s waterways. Senate Bill 358 changes water-quality measurements from numeric standards to narrative standards. Guy Alsentzer is head of Upper Missouri Riverkeeper.