KALISPELL – Opponents of a commercial bottling operation in the Flathead Valley are vowing to continue fighting to stop the Creston plant, despite another decision saying Montana Artesian Water Company is legal.
The declaration to continue the legal battle against Montana Artesian comes after Flathead County released a report re-affirming the company’s right to operate its bottling plant near Egan Slough.
Last summer, Yes! for Flathead Farms and Water sponsored a successful ballot initiative expanding the Egan Slough Zoning District, seeking to block the operation and protect local groundwater reserves. The group pressed implementation of the initiative in court, but last month Flathead County District Court Judge Robert Allison announced he didn’t have enough information to rule on the dispute.
Now, Flathead County planners have released an eight-page finding which says that even though Montana Artesian doesn’t qualify as an “agricultural use”, it can be “grandfathered” in as a non-conforming use because the plant was completed and ready to produce water before the zoning expansion.
In an online post, Yes! For Flathead Farms and Water says they “are not giving up” and are “prepared to take this all the way to the Supreme Court.”
Reporting by Dennis Bragg for MTN News