WGA Executive Director Jim Ogsbury offered testimony on May 18, 2017, on behalf of Western Governors before the House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Power, and Oceans.
The testimony on H.R. 2371 and the Water Rights Protection Act Discussion Draft addressed states’ rights to manage and allocate their water resources, and reminded that states are best situated to understand their own unique legal frameworks, local hydrology and citizen needs.Testimony highlights included:
- States are the primary authority for allocating, administering, protecting and developing water resources, and they are primarily responsible for water supply planning within their boundaries;
- The federal government has long recognized the right to use water as determined under the laws of the various states;
- Each Executive department and agency should be required to have a clear and accountable process to provide each state with early, meaningful and substantive input in the development of regulatory policies that have federalism implications; and
- In the absence of Constitutional delegation of authority to the federal government, state authority should be presumed sovereign.
The testimony concludes "Western Governors welcome the opportunity to partner with the Subcommittee and federal agencies to maintain states’ authority over their water resources."