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Public Statements

Water Rights Protection Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. Mr. Speaker, the underlying bill does one thing and one thing only: it stops the Federal Government from extorting water rights from private citizens and businesses without just compensation. That is what the underlying bill does.

But, Mr. Speaker, I have to tell you that there seems to be a common thread here over the last several weeks--maybe even a year--on the differences of governance between the two parties, between this side of the aisle and that side of the aisle.

The reason why this is important as it relates to water law is simply because water law has always been the province of the States. There have been Federal courts that have said that over and over and over. Yet, when we come to the floor here, we hear constantly from the other side that there should be conditions on certain rights. This falls into that category.

The debate we had on the floor earlier was that there is acknowledgment that the Federal Government was taking water rights as a condition for permits. Their answer from that side of the aisle was, well, let's let the process go; our side was, let's respect the law. Big difference.

So now we have this motion to recommit, and if you look at the motion to recommit, it conditions, again, State water law. I think the best way that we should approach these debates is to say that we trust the people and we trust the Federal system, and the Federal system as it relates to water

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