The lawsuit, filed in 1st Judicial District Court in Broadwater County, alleges the defendants failed to do their duty to consider impacts and protect water and land resources from unreasonable degradation under the Subdivision and Platting Act and the Montana Water Use Act. The lots received Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) approval to use aggregated exempt wells. At the center of the issue is Horse Creek Hills, a four-phase, 435-acre subdivision in Broadwater County on the eastern shore and directly upstream from Canyon Ferry Reservoir and Confederate Creek.
The proposed site is a rural, predominantly agricultural landscape and borders both state and Bureau of Reclamation land. The co-plaintiffs said in a news release announcing the lawsuit the county has ignored overwhelming public opposition to Horse Creek Hills without taking a hard look at the negative impacts this subdivision will have on agricultural operations, water resources, local wildlife, and the livelihoods of Broadwater County residents.“Our senior water rights, cattle operations, neighborhood roads, and quality of life will all bear the brunt of this subdivision if it goes forward,” Carole Plymale, a cattle rancher in Townsend