H. R. 579
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
January 15, 2019
Mr. Tipton (for himself, Mr. Simpson, Mr. Calvert, Mr. Amodei, Mr. Westerman, Mr. LaMalfa, Mr. Lamborn, and Mr. Gosar) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, and in addition to the Committee on Agriculture, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned
To prohibit the conditioning of any permit, lease, or other use agreement on the transfer of any water right to the United States by the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture, and for other purposes.
This Act may be cited as the
Water Rights Protection Act of 2019.
In this Act:
The term Secretary means, as applicable—
the Secretary of Agriculture; or
the Secretary of the Interior.
The term water right means any surface, groundwater, or storage use filed, permitted, certificated, confirmed, decreed, adjudicated, or otherwise recognized by a judicial proceeding or by the State in which the user acquires possession of the water or puts it to beneficial use. Such term shall include water rights for federally recognized Indian Tribes.
Treatment of water rights
The Secretary shall not—
condition 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 of any water right (including joint and sole ownership) directly or indirectly to the United States, or on any impairment of title or interest, in whole or in part, granted or otherwise recognized under State law, by Federal or State adjudication, decree, or other judgment, or pursuant to any interstate water compact; or
require any water user (including any federally recognized Indian Tribe) to apply for or acquire a water right in the name of the United States under State law as a condition of the issuance, renewal, amendment, or extension of any permit, approval, license, lease, allotment, easement, right-of-way, or other land use or occupancy agreement.
In developing any rule, policy, directive, management plan, or similar Federal action relating to the issuance, renewal, amendment, or extension of any permit, approval, license, lease, allotment, easement, right-of-way, or other land use or occupancy agreement, the Secretary—
recognize the longstanding authority of the States relating to evaluating, protecting, allocating, regulating, permitting, and adjudicating water use; and
coordinate with the States to ensure that any rule, policy, directive, management plan, or similar Federal action is consistent with, and imposes no greater restriction or regulatory requirement, than applicable State water law; and
the authority of a State in—
permitting the beneficial use of water; or
adjudicating water rights;
any other right or obligation of a State established under State law; or
assert any connection between surface and groundwater that is inconsistent with such a connection recognized by State water laws.
Nothing in this Act limits or expands any existing legally recognized authority of the Secretary to issue, grant, or condition any permit, approval, license, lease, allotment, easement, right-of-way, or other land use or occupancy agreement on Federal land that is subject to the jurisdiction of the Secretary.
Nothing in this Act in any way interferes with any existing or future Bureau of Reclamation contract entered into pursuant to Federal reclamation law (the Act of June 17, 1902 (32 Stat. 388, chapter 1093), and Acts supplemental to and amendatory of that Act).
Endangered Species Act
Nothing in this Act affects the implementation of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).
Federal reserved water rights
Nothing in this Act limits or expands any existing reserved water rights of the Federal Government on land administered by the Secretary.
Federal Power Act
Nothing in this Act limits or expands authorities pursuant to section 4(e), 10(j), or 18 of the Federal Power Act (16 U.S.C. 797(e), 803(j), 811).
Indian water rights
Nothing in this Act limits or expands any existing reserved water right or treaty right of any federally recognized Indian Tribe.
Federally held State water rights
Nothing in this Act limits the ability of the Secretary, through applicable State procedures, to acquire, use, enforce, or protect a State water right owned by the United States.