Tipton Votes to Vacate Controversial Waters of U.S. Rule

WASHINGTON – Congressman Scott Tipton (R-CO) issued the following statement following passage of a resolution of disapproval in the House, today, to vacate the Environmental Protection Agency’s Waters of the U.S. rule (S.J. Res 22). Tipton has been one of the most vocal defenders of Western water since being elected to Congress, carrying the widely supported Water Rights Protection Act (H.R. 1830) which would uphold state water law and priority-based systems. 

“The Waters of the U.S. rule, this Administration’s most onerous federal water grab, threatens the private property rights of millions of Western water users who rely on access to their water rights from everything from irrigating crops and providing clean and reliable municipal drinking water supplies, to attracting tourism opportunities through recreation. Water is truly the lifeblood of the arid West, and for over a century, state water law and priority based systems have successfully protected these rights to ensure water users and communities retain the ability to responsibly access and manage this precious limited resource,” said Tipton. “The Waters of the U.S. rule would undermine state water law and priority-based systems, insert federal control over western water rights, interfere with or outright take private water rights, and put decisions about our water in the hands of Washington bureaucrats. Fortunately, the rule has been blocked for now in the courts. It’s time to do away with it for good. Be it through this legislation today to vacate the rule or through concrete protections from federal takings offered in our Water Rights Protection Act, we continue the fight to protect private water rights.”

Waters of the U.S. key events:

  • In May, the House passed the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act (H.R. 1732), which would prohibit WOTUS from going into effect. Tipton has reintroduced the Water Rights Protection Act (H.R. 1830) this Congress which seeks to protect private water rights holders from federal takings. Learn more about that bill HERE. The House also passed a rider as part of H.R. 2028, the FY 2016 Energy and Water Appropriations bill that would prohibit the implementation of the EPA rule. There is also speculation that end of the year funding legislation could include language to prohibit the implementation of WOTUS.
  • In October, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the nationwide implementation of WOTUS. The controversial WOTUS rule would have drastically expanded the regulatory scope of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over surface water, raising concerns from farmers, ranchers and other water users over increased federal interference with privately held water rights. In August, the District Court for the District of North Dakota issued a preliminary injunction that blocked the rule from moving forward in 13 plaintiff-states, including Colorado. The October ruling by the Sixth Circuit Court blocked implementation of the rule nationwide.
  • In December , a report released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the EPA broke the law by engaging in ‘covert propaganda’ when rolling out its controversial WOTUS rule.