WaterWatch: Oppose S. 1630, the “Water Rights Protection Act”

Via our buddies at WaterWatch of Oregon:

Please contact Oregon’s U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today and ask them to oppose S. 1630, the “Water Rights Protection Act.”

Colorado River at Mexican border, May 1972

A companion bill, H.R. 3189, has already passed the House of Representatives, so we need your help now!

S. 1630’s stated intent is to help resolve a narrow conflict over water rights between the U.S. Forest Service and Colorado’s ski industry. However, as currently drafted, the bill would have serious implications for water management across the country and undermine efforts to improve the health of the nation’s rivers and public lands, including National Parks, National Forests, and National Wildlife Refuges.

S. 1630 would prohibit agencies from requiring conditions that “impair” any water rights. This would greatly inhibit the ability of Department of Interior and Department of Agriculture to protect rivers, wildlife, and public lands.

The bill would also weaken federal laws that allow agencies to place conditions on permits or licenses that would keep water in rivers to support struggling fish and wildlife, or protect instream recreation. It could also preempt state laws that allow the Forest Service to require water diverters to leave some water in a stream on Forest Service land, or stop the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from requiring flows that attract fish to fish ladders so that they can safely pass over dams.

WaterWatch and our conservation allies around the country have already come out strongly in opposition to this bill. Please help us get the message across, and take a moment to contact Senators Wyden and Merkley to urge them to oppose S. 1630!

Contact Information:

Senator Jeff Merkley
Web Contact Form
(202) 224-3753
313 Hart Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, D.C. 20510

Senator Ron Wyden
Web Contact Form
(202) 224-5244
221 Dirksen Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, D.C. 20510

Background

According to the Congressional Research Service, the Water Rights Protection Act “Prohibits the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture (USDA) from:

(1) conditioning the issuance, renewal, amendment, or extension of any permit, approval, license, lease, allotment, easement, right-of-way, or other land use or occupancy agreement on the transfer or relinquishment of any water right directly to the United States, in whole or in part, granted under state law, by federal or state adjudication, decree, or other judgment, or pursuant to any interstate water compact and such Secretaries; and

(2) requiring any water user to apply for a water right in the name of the United States under state law as a condition of such a land use or occupancy agreement.”

Sample Letter

Dear Senator,

As an Oregonian who loves our state’s rivers and public lands, I am writing to ask you to oppose S. 1630, the “Water Rights Protection Act.” Conservation groups around the country have already come out strongly against this bill.

S. 1630’s stated intent is to help resolve a conflict over water rights between the U.S. Forest Service and Colorado’s ski industry. However, as currently drafted, the bill would have serious implications for water management across the country and undermine efforts to improve the health of the nation’s rivers and public lands, including National Parks, National Forests, and National Wildlife Refuges.

S. 1630 would prohibit agencies from requiring conditions that “impair” any water rights. This would greatly inhibit the ability of Department of Interior and Department of Agriculture to protect rivers, wildlife, and public lands.

The bill would also weaken federal laws that allow agencies to place conditions on permits or licenses that would keep water in rivers to support struggling fish and wildlife, or protect instream recreation. It could also preempt state laws that allow the Forest Service to require water diverters to leave some water in a stream on Forest Service land, or stop the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from requiring flows that attract fish to fish ladders so that they can safely pass over dams.

For all these reasons, I ask you to please oppose S. 1630.

This entry was posted in Oregon Conservation News. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to WaterWatch: Oppose S. 1630, the “Water Rights Protection Act”

  1. two dogs says:

    Hey….Happy Birthday Jay!!!!!! Have a great fish today.

    All the best….here’s to another 20.

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