Tipton, Amodei introduce legislation to protect water rights

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                           


Joshua Green, (Tipton) 202-617-4395

Brian Baluta, (Amodei) 202-225-6155

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Today, Reps. Scott Tipton (R-CO) and Mark Amodei (R-NV) introduced with bipartisan support the Water Rights Protection Act to protect privately held water rights from federal takings and uphold longstanding state water law. Reps. Rob Bishop (R-UT), Tom McClintock (R-CA), and Jared Polis (D-CO) are original co-sponsors. The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) is currently pushing the federal government’s latest attempt to disregard state law and take private water rights, despite objections from elected officials, business owners, private property advocates and a U.S. District Court ruling.

The bill would protect communities, businesses, recreation opportunities, farmers, ranchers, as well as other individuals who rely on privately held water rights for their livelihood. It would prohibit federal agencies from confiscating water rights through the use of permits, leases, and other land management arrangements.

“Long-held state water law protects the many uses vital to Colorado and Western States -- from recreation to irrigation, domestic use and environmental protection. Unfortunately, all of this is being undermined by federal intrusion that creates uncertainty and jeopardizes the livelihoods of communities, individuals, and businesses responsible for thousands of jobs. To undermine this system is to create risk and uncertainty for all Western water users,” said Tipton. “Our bill will restore needed certainty by ensuring that privately held water rights will be upheld and protect users from federal takings.”

“Nothing in federal law grants federal land managers jurisdiction over Nevada’s ground water. That responsibility is one of the few states’ rights authorities remaining in Nevada and I will work all day, every day to keep it,” said Amodei. “This bill delivers a much-needed and timely reminder that the federal government must comply with state rules and decisions when it comes to Nevada’s ground water.”

Recently, USFS attempted to implement a permit condition on National Forest System lands to require the transfer of privately held water rights to the federal government. Additionally, there are cases of federal land managers requiring water users to apply for their rights under state law in the name of the United States rather than for themselves.

The Water Rights Protection Act would:

  • Prohibit agencies from implementing a permit condition that requires the transfer of privately held water rights to the federal government in order to receive or renew a permit for the use of land.
  • Prohibit the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture from imposing other conditions that require the transfer of water rights.
  • Uphold longstanding federal deference to state water law.
  • Have no cost to taxpayers.

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  • Office Locations

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    Reno, NV 89511
    Phone: (775) 686-5760
    Fax: (775) 686-5711
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    Washington, DC 20515
    Phone: (202) 225-6155
    Fax: (202) 225-5679
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    repName Congressman Mark Amodei  
    helpWithFedAgencyAddress 332 Cannon House Office Building
    Washington, DC 20515
    district 2nd District of Nevada  
    academyUSCitizenDate July 1, 2016  
    academyAgeDate July 1, 2016  
    academyApplicationDueDate October 20, 2016  
    repStateABBR NV  
    repDistrict 2  
    repState Nevada  
    repDistrictText 2nd  
    SponsoredBills Sponsored Bills  
    CoSponsoredBills Co-Sponsored Bills