Blackfeet Water Code: Response to Comments
- One commenter indicated that the Code should have been published as a draft and then adopted after comments. If comments warrant any changes, they will be made by amendment, which will result in the same outcome.
- A comment was received indicating that implementation of the Blackfeet Water Rights Settlement should include a 6 person Kimi board to develop plans for settlement funds. The drafters did not include a Board in the process; however, nothing in the Code prohibits or precludes the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council or the Water Department from soliciting comments or input from the tribal members, and it is expected that Council and the Water Department will do so where appropriate.
- A comment indicated that the renewable energy projects under the Water Department should be limited to water related renewable energy project. The Tribe does not currently have a renewable energy department. When such a department is established, all renewable energy projects will be transferred to that department.
- A commenter objected to the use of a Hearing Office to decide objections to water right permits, disputes among water users and decisions of the Director and indicated that a 6 member Kimi Board should hear such appeals. The drafters opted to use a hearing officer rather than a board. The hearing officer is required to be an attorney and decisions of the hearing officer are subject to appeal to the Blackfeet Court of Appeals. This system provides fairness and will not be subject to favoritism.
- A comment indicated that water permits should be allowed to be reinstated if the non-use is due to medical issues. Medical issues are generally temporary and do not usually lead to nonuse of water. However, the Water Code is flexible enough to include such circumstances if warranted.
- Two comments recommended that inspections be required on all water infrastructure work. This matter is outside the Water Code. However, it is anticipated that all water infrastructure construction will be inspected by qualified inspectors.
- Other commenters requested information about obtaining a water permit application and enrollment. Responses will be provided to the individuals.
- Two minor typos were noted and will be corrected.