Friday, March 11, 2011

Kill Bill: Vol. HB 309

BUTTE, MT—When it comes to stripping stream access rights, fly fishers—generally a peaceful group—come ready to collectively throwdown. Earlier this week more than 350 Montanans swarmed the Senate Agriculture Livestock and Irrigation Committee hearing in opposition to HB 309. The bill, carried by Rep. Jeff Welborn, R-Dillon, would allow landowners to block public access to waterways diverted for irrigation. So far the TU-lead fight has been contained to lobbying against its illogical implications. Brass knuckles have yet to be brandished.

From the Missoulian: "But the throngs of anglers, outfitters, floaters and conservationists who boarded buses from throughout the state see the bill as an underhanded gutting of Montana's cherished stream access law. They said the language in the bill making any waterway that receives return flows subject to closure could include major rivers like the Big Hole and Bitterroot.

"The groups held a rally in the room an hour before the hearing, many donning T-shirts urging "Kill HB 309" that were produced by the Butte crowd."
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