Friday, June 19, 2015

Caucus cheers as USFS buries groundwater rule

From the Congressional Western Caucus:
Today the U.S. Forest Service announced full withdrawal of the Proposed Directive on Groundwater Management. The directive, which was proposed in May of 2014, was finally withdrawn after a bipartisan effort to stop the directive and protect the longstanding and effective state management of these waters.

Western Caucus Chairman Cynthia Lummis (WY-at large) and Vice Chairman Scott Tipton (CO-03) issued the following statements in response:

“The grounds for the proposed directive were never established, but the danger quickly became clear: a federal grab at the expense of state authority and private water rights,” said Chairman Lummis. “State led groundwater management isn’t just the law of the land, it’s the tried-and-true method to manage groundwater. While I appreciate the Forest Service withdrawing the directive, the Service and all federal agencies for that matter should think twice when they get a wild hair to force their way into areas reserved to the states, especially the lifeblood of western communities: our water.”

“It’s welcome news that the Forest Service has officially backed away from this ill-fated attempt to drastically expand control over groundwater and private water rights. This Directive would have been especially harmful to the countless farmers and ranchers who rely on access to their private water rights to produce the crops that feed our nation and earn a living,” said Vice-Chairman Tipton. “This is a win for all private water rights users, but short of a legislative solution such as the Water Rights Protection Act to provide permanent protections, we will continue to see similar attempts by the Administration to exert control over private water rights.”

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