Dear WFF Supporters,
We’ve come a long way in our first 3 months of existence – we’ve gone from zero to a mention today in the Wall Street Journal article about the water bottling restriction initiative passed Tuesday in Cascade Locks, Oregon. It says: “Elsewhere, some residents are rallying against a proposed water bottling plant in Flathead County, Mont.” A good start to national coverage!
It has been a very busy couple of weeks. We held our charter membership meeting at Sykes on May 10 and had over 100 people in attendance – a very good start! At that meeting we gave an update on where we stand with regard to the legal processes at the state level (with DNRC and soon DEQ) and shared our plans for pursuing a county solution.
A delegation of 8 of us had met earlier that day with Commissioners Phil Mitchell and Pam Holmquist of Flathead County, who listened attentively. We expressed our concerns about the negative impact water export operations will have on neighboring properties – and that allowing this precedent means we can expect many more companies to seize the opportunity to take water from our county – at the expense of neighbors and taxpayers. We urged them to “look before we leap” to pass a moratorium on such activities so the full impact can be evaluated. Commissioner Gary Krueger refused to meet with us, insisting he already knew what we would say. We were honored and pleased that Rep Mark Noland attended all of the above meetings – please thank him for his support!
The membership meeting resulted in over 40 people volunteering to help our effort – and raised over $1000 in a cookie jar – terrific! It also generated many good ideas for spreading the word and raising more money. We also want to thank all the people who have made contributions – it’s makes a big difference!
Last night we had a follow up leadership meeting, and here is what we decided and how all of you can help:
1). We will be passing out flyers and taking names for our list at the polling places of the June 7th primary election. We have 15 volunteers who signed up at the meeting but need more – click here to volunteer
2). We will be making plans to march in the upcoming 4th of July parades around the valley – will hand out more flyers and buttons. Click here to volunteer
3). Need many more letters to the editor – please write!
4). Fund raising – the most effective way to raise money is by explaining our effort to your friends, neighbors and families and why the effort is so expensive. It has already cost over $35,000 in legal and consulting fees and just to bring it to the hearing is likely to double that cost. Here’s how to help raise money:
- Just ask directly and give our address and website – ask folks to make a meaningful gift to them. For some people that may be $20, and for others thousands. If 100 people give $100 – that’s $10,000. Ten people giving $2,000 is $20,000. It all will add up to our immediate goal of $50,000.
- Host a neighborhood pot luck – we can provide a speaker to talk about the issue (a number of folks volunteered for our speakers bureau – click here if you want to add your name)
- Get your kids (of all ages) involved. We need teens and young adults to help spread the word on social media. Talk with your kids about how this is for them and future generations.
5). Tie blue ribbons around visible posts on your property to signal your support. We will start publicizing this very soon to let people know what the ribbons mean. We have a couple of volunteers who have made a couple of hundred – let us know if you would like to have a couple.
We have decided to postpone a large rally right now in favor of all of the other efforts listed above. We may look to do that in the early fall – rallies can cost more money than they raise.
Keep in mind that our success is dependent upon convincing voters and elected officials that the correct position to take about the future of our water resources is a conservative one. “Look before you leap”. Do not allow our water to be given away to benefit one person at the expense of everyone else. Spread the word, grow our numbers and raise money!
Chair, Water for Flathead’s Future