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State Constitutions

I've been reading the Idaho and Montana State Constitutions, and there is some sections there that could be of use to us as miners;



Section 3. Water of natural stream -- Right to appropriate -- State's regulatory power--Priorities. The right to divert and appropriate the unappropriated waters of any natural stream to beneficial uses, shall never be denied, except that the state may regulate and limit the use thereof for power purposes. Priority of appropriation shall give the better right as between those using the water; but when the waters of any natural stream are not sufficient for the service of all those desiring the use of the same, those using the water for domestic purposes shall (subject to such limitations as may be prescribed by law) have the preference over those claiming for any other purpose; and those using the water for agricultural purposes shall have preference over those using the same for manufacturing purposes. And in any organized mining district those using the water for mining purposes or milling purposes connected with mining, shall have preference over those using the same for manufacturing or agricultural purposes. But the usage by such subsequent appropriators shall be subject to such provisions of law regulating the taking of private property for public and private use, as referred to in section 14 of article I of this Constitution.

And from Montana:

Section 3 . WATER RIGHTS. (1) All existing rights to the use of any waters for any
useful or beneficial purpose are hereby recognized and confirmed.
(2) The use of all water that is now or may hereafter be appropriated for sale, rent,
distribution, or other beneficial use, the right of way over the lands of others for all ditches, drains,
flumes, canals, and aqueducts necessarily used in connection therewith, and the sites for
reservoirs necessary for collecting and storing water shall be held to be a public use.
(3) All surface, underground, flood, and atmospheric waters within the boundaries of the
state are the property of the state for the use of its people and are subject to appropriation for
beneficial uses as provided by law.

 Seems to me that the EPA has little to say about our "diversion" of water for dredging purposes. I seem to remember that mining is a "beneficial purpose". What do you think? Forum Index -> General
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