Bishop Statement on U.S. Forest Service Decision to Officially Withdrawal Controversial Groundwater Directive

WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 19, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) issued the following statement in response to the announcement today from the U.S. Forest Service on the agency’s decision to officially withdrawal its Proposed Directive on Groundwater Management.

“From the outset the Forest Service failed to identify any practical or legal basis for this directive. The decision to officially withdraw concludes the bipartisan effort to stop this baseless and misguided proposal.  Finally, after more than a year, states and private water rights holders can have some peace of mind in knowing this policy is now officially off the table.” 

Background:

On April 14, 2015, at a Water, Power and Oceans Subcommittee hearing, U.S. Forest Service Deputy Chief Leslie Weldon announced the agency planned to withdraw the Directive and better engage with states on water issues.

On March 26, 2015, at an Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee budget hearing, Chairman Bishopquestioned Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell on the Directive:  “May I suggest to you very carefully that because of the unanswered questions and the growing issues with this far reaching proposal that instead of a temporary hold, you simply withdraw it permanently?”

On March 12, 2015, Committee leaders sent a letter to Chief Tidwell, urging the agency to permanently withdraw the Directive.  The letter echoed similar concerns voiced by the Western Governors Associationand others about how the proposal could usurp state management of groundwater.

On February 26, 2015, Chief Tidwell announced the Proposed Directive was temporarily put on hold but that further action would be taken.

On May 7, 2014, the Service published a Proposed Directive on Groundwater Resource Management available for public comment.  The original comment period was for 90 days but after requests from the Committee and stakeholders, it was extended for two comment periods.  It closed on October 3, 2014.

Contact: Committee Press Office 202-226-9019

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