The House Committee on Natural Resources June 27 advanced H.R. 2939, the “Water Rights Protection Act of 2017.” Introduced by Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO), the bill protects privately held water rights from federal overreach.
“In recent years, we have seen federal agencies ignore the concept of private property rights and the tradition of deferring to state water law in an attempt to federalize water resources and pave the way for unilateral mandates,” Rep. Tipton said. “Western water users agree that we can’t let this happen, and I am glad that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle showed their support today for the Water Rights Protection Act, which will preserve the rights of all water users and provide certainty that the federal government cannot take their rights in the future.”
H.R. 2939 prohibits the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture from requiring private entities to relinquish their water rights to the federal government as a permit condition to continue operating on federal lands – an abuse of power with which Western states have been repeatedly threatened.
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