Barrasso slams Fed takeover of State Water Rights
by U.S. Senator John Barrasso media release
April 9, 2008
(Washington) – U.S. Senator John Barrasso, R-Wyo., slammed efforts to massively expand the reach of the federal government over all water sources within the United States.
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing on the “Clean Water Restoration Act.” The bill would amend the “Clean Water Act,” passed in 1977, to expand the reach of federal jurisdiction to include all water currently under state control.
“Without a doubt, this bill will harm Wyoming agriculture, commercial and residential real estate development, and mining,” Barrasso said. “It is a direct infringement on the rights of state and local authorities. I will not stand for it and neither will the people of Wyoming.”
The bill seeks to undo former Wyoming Senator Malcolm Wallop’s amendment to the “Clean Water Act” which bars Washington from overriding state control of water.
“It is now springtime in the Rockies,” Barrasso continued. “As the snow melts, large, temporary water holes are formed on ranches and farms across the state. If this bill passes, any activity that touches these water holes would now require a federal permit.”
For example, ranchers could be sued for not getting a federal permit to use stock water ponds for watering livestock or before making modifications to the pond.
“It will needlessly delay construction or repair of pipelines, ditches, canals, and wells. Water is vital to the maintaining our Wyoming way of life. Any delay in providing our communities and economy with water would be disastrous.”
The Wyoming Association of Rural Water Systems and the Wyoming Stock Growers Association have joined Barrasso in opposition to the legislation.