U.S. Representative Scott Tipton takes time at a U.S. House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands to bang the drum against water rights ‘taking’ by the USFS


From The Durango Herald (Rocío González):

Last month, Tipton, R-Cortez, expressed his concern about a requirement that would make private water holders sign their water rights over to the U.S. government as a condition for permits for uses such as ski areas or grazing. The congressman wrote Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack requesting that the agency stop interfering in such matters.

While questioning Glenn Porzak, a representative for the National Ski Areas Association, Tipton inquired about compensation for those who would have to sign their water rights away. According to Porzak, it would be “zero.”

This new requirement would be tied to a series of changes including special-use permits and a proposed planning rule that the Department of Agriculture – namely, the Forest Service – has been working on for years. However, the USDA already is enforcing the permit requirement despite the fact that it has yet to be officially implemented.

“I think you underscored a very important point during your comments, saying that all water owners should be concerned,” Tipton told Porzak. “In the 3rd Congressional District, throughout the state of Colorado, water is what we absolutely need, particularly for the grazing.”[…]

When witnesses for the federal agency were asked why it needed the water rights, they answered it is a matter of “control.”

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