Elizabeth Doney Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
A number of Havre residents and Chippewa Cree tribal members took the opportunity Thursday morning to discuss their priorities with Montana’s lone congressman during a listening session at the Hill County Detention Center. Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., heard from several representatives of Rocky Boy’s North Central Regional Water Project including Jim Morsette, Tony Belcourt, Bruce Sunchild, Dave Jones and Annmarie Robinson. The group specifically requested help with recovery of Bureau of Reclamation dollars that was appropriated to the project but allocated elsewhere. “We know the importance of water to everybody. North Central is not a new project,” Sunchild told the congressman. “We cannot survive without that bloodline.” “In this particular case, out of 42 water projects only 22 were funded with the argument that they we’re going to finished the authorized projects. Unfortunately North Central wasn’t one of them,” Rehberg said. “We’re constantly battling them for resources and I want some accountability.” “We have water systems that are out of compliance particularly Hill County,” Robinson said. “That’s a real fear of health risks.” “Max, Jon and I are going to keep working on it,” Rehberg promised. “We’re not done working the horn. When I say we need help with North Central Montana Water Project I mean it.” From water the discussion turned to the Patriot Act, free beef trade, the North American Union, natural resource issues, COOL legislation, the Farm Bill, the War in Iraq and terrorism. Rehberg stated confidence that this year’s farm bill will better understand Montana’s agriculture. Rehberg expressed support for a request by Robert Kaul of Havre who request congressional backing for the 24-hour opening of the Wildhorse Port north of Havre. “The argument is that there is not enough traffic to justify that port being open 24 hours,” Rehberg said. “My argument is if they open the port 24 hours than there would be enough traffic.” The port discussion led to the passport issue that some residents do not support. “This is where we are in a rock and hard place,” Rehberg responded. “We want security and protection from illegal aliens and terrorists, but we don’t want to pay for a passport that gives that. How else are we going to prove that people coming into Montana should be?” An unidentified Havre resident requested the congressman to reinvestigate the 911 terrorism, citing allegations that NORAD was asked to stand down by Vice President Dick Cheney that led to a heated disagreement by Rehberg who strongly disagreed with any presidential conspiracy. Others in attendance for Rehberg’s address Were Paul Preeshl of HRDC and the three Hill County Commissioners Kathy Bessette, Mike Anderson and Mike Wendland. This was the fifth session in Montana for Rehberg, who will fly back to Washington on Monday morning. Rehberg sits on the highly regarded U.S. House Committee on Appropriations, which has budget jurisdiction of the 13 annual spending bills and controls onethird of the federal government’s $2.5 trillion budget. He also serves on two Appropriation Subcommittees: Labor, Health and Human Service, and Education and Financial Service. For more information about Rehberg visit his Web site at www.house.gov/rehberg/.