Overregulation topic of discussion during roundtable with Daines
By Jason Stuart
Ranger-Review Staff Writer
U.S. Rep. Steve Daines stopped in Glendive Thursday afternoon, where he held a roundtable discussion with area officials, utility company representatives and irrigation district managers.
Among those in attendance at the meeting were Glendive Mayor Jerry Jimison, Sidney Mayor Richard Norby, Buffalo Rapids manager Mike Carlson, Lower Yellowstone Irrigation Project James Brower, and representatives from Mid-Rivers, MDU and WBI.
A common thread at the meeting was complaints from those around the table about perceived overregulation from federal agencies and the imposition of ever more restrictive rules by those agencies.
Richland County Economic Development Executive Director Leslie Messer summed up the group’s feelings.
He added that on other Montana irrigation projects, even the old spoil pile has been declared “culturally significant,” which he fears happening at Intake.
“It makes it very hard to accomplish anything,” Brower said of the regulation.
Brower also shared fears about some “good-hearted senators from California” who were pushing to force irrigation projects to bring their canals up to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers standards. He and Carlson said forcing irrigators to do so could bankrupt the irrigation projects.
“It’s usurping our state’s rights,” Carlson said.
MDU representatives expressed concern about the possible listing of the sage grouse as an endangered species and the effect it could have on power transmission infrastructure.
Carlson also pointed to how the Endangered Species Act was driving the effort to reconfigure Intake, asking “if there’s going to be a dollar limit on (saving) one fish.”
Daines said he believes the Endangered Species Act needs to be reviewed and revised, saying it had been corrupted from its original purpose by special interest environmental groups.
Daines also bemoaned the growing authority of “unelected, unaccountable” federal agencies.
“They call it the rising power of the fourth branch of government, which is the federal bureaucracy,” he said. “There’s an arrogance amongst some of these bureaucrats in Washington who believe they know better than we do here.”
Reach Jason Stuart at email@example.com.