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Rep. Boebert Introduces Bill to Protect Water Supplies for Future Generations

March 9, 2021

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representative Lauren Boebert (CO-03) introduced a bill to protect private water rights and uphold state water law.

Representative Lauren Boebert (CO-03) stated: “My District is all too familiar with federal government attempts to seize control of private property and private water rights. By extorting water through permitting, leasing, and other use schemes, government bureaucrats have trampled on the rights of local communities. The Western Water Security Act prevents federal water grabs, protects private property rights, and helps ensure an abundant supply of clean water for future generations. This bill puts people before politics and rural America before the Swamp.” 

Representative Paul Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) said: “In the West, whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting, unfortunately too often our states, communities and businesses are forced to fight with the federal government over water.  The Western Water Security Act begins the process of restoring the balance back to the people of the West over our own water supplies and stops the extortion of water rights by federal agencies.  I applaud our colleague from Colorado for leading this effort and hope that Congress will act quickly on this important legislation.”

Representative Doug Lamborn (CO-05) stated: “The government’s duty is to protect hard-working American’s private property rights, not to seize control of them. We cannot allow the federal government to continue to trample on state and local authority. The Western Water Security Act would prevent federal water grabs and help ensure farmers and ranchers have access to the resources they need for their livestock and crop irrigation. I am grateful for the leadership of my friend and fellow Coloradan Rep. Boebert on this issue.”

Representative Russ Fulcher (ID-01) said: “The Western Water Security Act supports the water rights of Idaho ranchers, farmers, and beneficial users, and I am proud to cosponsor this legislation. The federal government should not be in a position to bully beneficial users to gain access to their water rights.”

 Representative Ken Buck (CO-04) stated: “The private water rights of farmers and ranchers must be protected. I’m proud to join Rep. Boebert in this effort to ensure the federal government cannot coerce Coloradans into giving up their water rights in exchange for permits and leases.”

Representative Ron Estes (KS-04) stated: “The Western Water Security Act is a critical step to ensure that federal agencies respect private water rights and state water laws. Kansas farmers and ranchers rely on their water rights to grow crops, raise livestock and support their livelihoods. This common sense legislation will protect our agriculture producers – a major part of our state’s economy – from unlawful overreach of the federal government.”

Colorado Cattleman’s Association President Janie VanWinkle stated: “In Colorado and in many places around the nation, water rights are a private property right and should not take that right away as a contingency of receiving a federal permit, such as a livestock grazing permit on federal lands.”

Colorado Farm Bureau President Carlyle Currier said: “Private property should never be extorted or used as a bargaining tool in an exchange for access to public lands. In the West water is the lifeblood of the land and the resource that keeps communities thriving.  Without water, Colorado's farmers and ranchers lose the ability to care for our lands and livestock. It takes legislators who are willing to fight for these owned-rights, valuable resources, and the success of family farms and ranches.”

Family Farm Alliance Executive Director Dan Keppen stated:Our farmers and ranchers rely on their vested water rights to secure operating loans, as well as irrigate crops and water livestock. Federal agencies should not be able to leverage those water rights against farming and ranching families who have long depended upon federal permits and leases to support actions like grazing.”

Dolores Water Conservancy District General Manager Ken Curtis stated: "Dolores Water Conservancy District (DWCD) supports Representative Boebert’s efforts to protect Colorado’s constitutional recognition of Prior Appropriation private property rights.  Any diminishment of these rights would harm all of Colorado and our water rights system.”

Background:

Today U.S. Congresswoman Lauren Boebert introduced the Western Water Security Act. This legislation protects private property rights, upholds state water law, and prohibits federal takings.

In recent years, repeated water grabs by the federal government have threatened the livelihoods of tribal members, farmers, ranchers, water conservation districts, irrigation districts, municipalities, small businesses, and other water users that rely on privately held water rights. The U.S. Forest Service made several groundwater seizure attempts through overreaching agency directives and tried to seize ski area’s water rights, and the Bureau of Land Management required ranchers in the West to surrender water rights prior to approving use of grazing allotments.

The federal government has repeatedly tried to circumvent established state water law in order to steal precious water supplies. Taking private water rights without just compensation is a violation of the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution. Farmers and ranchers in rural America depend on private water rights to irrigate crops and livestock and to secure loans, and the federal government has no business interfering in their livelihoods.  The Western Water Security Act prevents federal water grabs, protects private property rights, and helps ensure an abundant supply of clean water for future generations. 

Supporters of Congresswoman Boebert’s bill include: American Farm Bureau Federation, National Water Resources Association, Archuleta County Commissioners, Arizona Farm Bureau, Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado, California Agricultural Irrigation Association, Colorado Farm Bureau, Colorado Association of Conservation Districts, Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, Colorado Water Congress, Dolores Water Conservancy District, Family Farm Alliance, Garfield County Commissioners, Mesa County Commissioners, Montrose County Commissioners, Nevada Farm Bureau, Truckee-Carson Irrigation District, United Water Conservation District, Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District.
 

14 Members of Congress joined Representative Boebert in introducing her bill including: Representatives Mark Amodei (NV-02), Andy Biggs (AZ-05), Ken Buck (CO-04), Ron Estes (KS-04), Russ Fulcher (ID-01), Paul Gosar (AZ-O4), Yvette Herrell (NM-02), Doug LaMalfa (CA-1), Doug Lamborn (CO-5), Tom McClintock (CA-04), Blake Moore (UT-01), Dan Newhouse (WA-4), Mike Simpson (ID-02), Chris Stewart (UT-02).