Bales Squares Off With Northern Plains Resource Council Over Water Bill

By Beacon Staff

Over at the Rotunda Report, Sen. Keith Bales, R-Otter, chides the Northern Plains Resource Council and its members for calling him a water thief. According to Bales, SB 505 protects ranchers’ rights:

I don’t think that I – or the ranchers that want to use the water – are the thieves. Rather those people who oppose this bill are the ones who are supporting the theft of water from deserving ranchers who are being affected by methane development.

You be the judge.

The Northern Resource Council – a “grassroots conservation and family agriculture group” – has targeted Bales’ legislation, which on its Web site is called the “Water Theft Bill.” According to the council:

(The Legislation) Would allow coal bed methane companies to take groundwater from aquifers and call it surface water. If a senior water rights holder’s wells run dry because of CBM drilling, the company could then turn around and sell water back to the landowner. “Temporary permit” means till the water and gas run out.

Here’s the legislation for all you water wonks.

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