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Tipton’s Water Rights Protection Act, Federal Lands Priorities Pass House in 2017 Interior and Environment Funding Bill

July 14, 2016
Press Release

Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03) voted in support of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2017 (H.R. 5538). H.R. 5538 includes language from Tipton’s Water Rights Protection Act (H.R. 1830), which upholds state water law and protects privately held water rights from federal takings and interference. The passage of H.R. 5538 marks the third time language included in the Water Rights Protection Act has cleared the House in the 114th Congress. 

“Federal land management agencies continue to try to interfere with private water rights and circumvent state law, putting the ski community, grazers, municipalities, and local businesses at risk of losing – without any compensation – the property they have developed, invested in, and rely on to survive. With the third passage of my bill to protect state waters laws and private water rights, I’m hopeful we will be able to finalize permanent protections for the property rights that are vital to the economic wellbeing of Colorado,” said Tipton.

H.R. 5538 also includes a restriction on the president’s use of the Antiquities Act to designate national monuments in several counties across the country, including Moffat, Conejos, Dolores, and Montezuma Counties in Colorado.

“The president’s use of the Antiquities Act to unilaterally designate massive blocks of land across the West as national monuments – without local input or support from the surrounding communities – amounts to a complete disregard for the will of the American people and their ability to have their voices heard. The process for designating public lands should start in communities, not the White House,” Tipton added.

Additionally, the committee report that accompanies H.R. 5538, which guides federal agencies on the use of appropriated funds, includes language that directs the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to continue the maintenance and operation of the temporary water treatment plant that was installed at Gladstone following the Gold King Mine spill until there is a long-term water treatment and cleanup plan in place.

H.R. 5538 cuts federal spending by $64 million from fiscal year 2016 levels, while increasing funding for forest health programs by $70 million. The bill also prohibits the EPA from implementing the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule and placing new greenhouse gas regulations, known as the Clean Power Plan, on power plants.

Additionally, H.R. 5538 provides full funding for the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program in fiscal year 2017 and blocks the Administration’s proposals to raise grazing fees on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Forest Service lands.

“This bill is full of provisions that are important to Colorado and our western neighbors that have been seriously burdened by the Obama Administration’s constant regulatory onslaught aimed at stifling responsible energy development. I look forward to working with my colleagues as we continue to battle the Administration’s constant executive overreach and protect rural America,” Tipton said.