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house Bill H.R. 3189

Public Lands, Private Entities and Water Rights

bill Progress

  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
  • The house Passed March 13th, 2014
    Roll Call Vote 238 Yea / 174 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on Agriculture
      Conservation and Forestry
      Committee on Natural Resources
    IntroducedSeptember 26th, 2013

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What is House Bill H.R. 3189?

This Act Would prevent federal agencies from requiring land owners to relinquish water rights to the U.S. in order to use public lands. Pits the Forest Service and conservation groups against Big Ag and ski resorts. 

More Information

Cost: CBO estimates no impact on federal budget. 

Impacts: Public Lands, Protected Wildlife, Ski Resorts, Water Resources 

Major Issues: Water Rights; Environment; Public Lands; Big Ag; Conservation 

Argument For:  Protects private entities like ski areas from Forest Service policies that would require those entities to turn over their private water rights to the federal government as a condition of their ski area special-use permits. 

Argument Against: Promotes "buy and dry" leasing of land, in which owners buy land, sell the water rights to civic or private entities, and then abandon the land, negatively impacting the region's ecosystem. Would prevent federal agencies within the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Interior from protecting fish, wildlife and river recreation.

Aspen Journalism
American Rivers
House Republican Summary at GovTrack
Vail Daily article with list of Bill's supporters 

Of Note: 
-Two chief supporting demographics of the Act are ski resorts and the farm lobby. 
-From the Vail Daily"The House Natural Resources Committee held the only hearing on this bill during the     government shutdown, preventing agencies from providing input on how it would affect public lands. When the Departments of Interior and Agriculture did weigh in, they strongly opposed the bill. They were joined by leading Democrats on the House Natural Resource Committee and more than 60 conservation and recreation groups, including American Rivers, American Whitewater, Trout Unlimited, Defenders of Wildlife, the Sierra Club and National Parks Conservation Association."


Water Rights Protection Act

Official Title

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.

    Water has and will become the biggest concern now and into the future!
    Conservation is vital to this country and the future life of our children. The national government has too readily given up conserved lands for private interests. And private lands should be honored when attempts are made to acquire it for the use of business.