The Forest Service has officially abandoned its despotic “groundwater directive” that would have allowed them to seize private water rights on property adjacent to public lands.
In Colorado and throughout the West, there was much rejoicing.
U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, vice chairman of the Western Caucus, said the directive would have been especially harmful to the countless farmers and ranchers who rely on access to their private water rights to feed the nation and earn a living.
This battle may be won, but Tipton says the war is not over:
“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.”
Added U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner:
“I appreciate the Forest Service withdrawing its proposed directive. The directive was developed without sufficient input from Western states and stakeholders, and would have infringed on the water rights of states, agriculture, and private citizens.”
Looks like the Forest Service acknowledged as much when it pledged not to infringe on state authority or impose new requirements on private landowners in future directives.
Historically speaking, that means it is exactly what the feds will try again in the future, just not during the presidential election season.