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Tipton’s Water Rights Protection Act Clears Committee, Moves to House Floor

June 27, 2017
Press Release


Congressman Scott Tipton’s (CO-03) bill to protect privately-held water rights and uphold state water law passed out of the House Natural Resources Committee. Tipton introduced the bill, the Water Rights Protection Act (H.R. 2939) on June 20, 2017. The bill cleared the committee with a bipartisan vote of 24-14.

Speaking before the Committee, Tipton said that federal attempts to manipulate federal permit, lease, and land management processes to circumvent long-standing state water law and hijack privately held water rights have sounded the alarm for non-federal water users.

Tipton said in part:

“The federal government’s overreach and infringement on private property rights that led to the introduction of the original version of this bill in the 113th Congress involved a U.S. Forest Service attempt to require a transfer of privately-held water rights to the federal government as a permit condition on National Forest System lands. There was no compensation for the transfer of these privately-held rights, despite the fact that many stakeholders had invested their own capital, many times to the tune of millions of dollars. This Forest Service permit condition had already hurt a number of stakeholders in my home state of Colorado, including Powerdhorn Ski Area in Grand Junction and Breckenridge Ski Resort.”

Tipton also outlined instances in which the Bureau of Land Management has conditioned grazing permits on the transfer of privately-held water rights to the federal government

Watch Tipton’s full statement here.

The Water Rights Protection Act prohibits the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior from requiring the transfer of water rights as a condition of any land-use permit. The bill also requires that future directives from the Departments be consistent with state water law.

The Water Rights Protection Act passed the House in both the 113th and 114th Congresses with bipartisan support. Visit Tipton’s website for a list of organizations that have shared their support for the bill in the 115th Congress.