Scott Tipton

Scott Tipton

COLORADO's 3rd DISTRICT

House Passes Balanced Budget that Empowers Future Generations

2015/04/30

WASHINGTON—Today, Congressman Scott Tipton (R-CO) issued this statement following passage in the House of a balanced budget agreement between the House and Senate (Conference Report to S. Con. Res. 11 – FY2016 Budget):

“For the first time in over a decade, both chambers of Congress have agreed on a balanced budget and that budget will serve as the blueprint for the work we do over the course of the next two years and beyond. With a crushing $18 trillion national debt that gets larger every day, the importance and urgency of getting the nation’s spending in check cannot be overstated. The future of our country is at stake.

“This month I received a letter from Chris, a student from Pueblo, Colorado. In his letter Chris made a point that I couldn’t agree with more: ‘It does not make sense to be constantly spending money that has not been earned. It is not sustainable.’

“While it’s commonsense to many of us, the clear and powerful message of ‘don’t spend more than you take in’ is often missed by many in Washington. However, that message is the driving force behind the budget of opportunity and growth that we passed today. Our budget balances, addresses the spending crisis in a serious and effective way, strengthens vital social safety-nets, encourages American energy production, and incentivizes innovation and entrepreneurship on Main Street to strengthen the economy and restore opportunity.

“Unlike the President’s budget, which never balances and has no regard for the crushing debt the next generation will inherit—or for the consequences of that debt on the economy—our budget deals with the realities of the national debt now and gives Chris and his classmates a future where they have the opportunity to get an education, find a good job and start a family. That’s the American Dream that previous generations have enjoyed, and that future generations should be able to experience as well. To recapture that dream we need new ideas like those we passed today, not more of the same buy-now-pay-later gimmicks that have become the status quo in the President’s proposals and added trillions to the national debt.   

“Congress has done its work and passed a reasonable, responsible budget that takes a fresh approach to solving our nation’s challenges. While there is more work to be done on many issues, including replacing Obamacare with a patient-centered approach that achieves the goals we all agree on—affordable and accessible healthcare for all Americans—this budget lays the groundwork for needed reforms and steers the country in the right direction. Now the President must decide if he will join us in standing up for Chris and the next generation, or continue down the path of more of the same failed policies that have created the debt crisis.”

See a breakdown of the budget agreement HERE.

 

 

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House Passes Tipton’s Amendment to Bolster Resources for Arkansas Valley Conduit

2015/04/30

WASHINGTON—The House of Representatives has adopted Congressman Scott Tipton’s (R-CO) amendment to direct $2 million in additional resources to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) for ongoing water delivery projects including the Arkansas Valley Conduit, which once completed would provide a reliable supply of clean drinking water to Southeast Colorado. The amendment, which was attached to H.R. 2028, the FY2016 Energy & Water Appropriations Act, does not create any new federal spending. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) joined Tipton in support of the amendment. The House is expected to pass H.R. 2028 this week.

The text of the amendment is available HERE.

Prior to passage, Tipton made the case for his amendment on the floor of the House. Video of Tipton’s statement can be seen HERE.

A transcript of his remarks follows:

Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.  I’d like to thank Chairman Simpson and Ranking Member Kaptur for their collaborative effort in putting together this bill and Chairman Simpson, I want you to know how much I appreciate your support of my floor amendment last year reprogramming funds within the Bureau of Reclamation’s Water Conservation and Delivery fund to advance and complete ongoing work that will provide efficient delivery of clean drinking water from an existing multi-purpose reclamation project as authorized by Congress in 1962.

As you know, water is the lifeblood of the Western United States and absolutely critical to the vitality of our communities and local economies.

Today, I am offering a simple amendment that will bolster the Bureau of Reclamation’s Water and Related Resources account by $2 million dollars, allowing the Bureau of Reclamation to proceed with ongoing work on water supply delivery projects at a more efficient pace to reach our shared goals in meeting increased water demands by developing and maximizing clean water supplies.

In Colorado, as in the case throughout the West, we have similar needs to move forward with engineering design-work on the authorized features of existing Reclamation projects.  These projects improve water supply quality, address water shortage issues, improve conservation measures and stabilize water supplies.

In the western United States, water is an economic driver.  In order to attract more economic growth– either in business or agriculture – every industry in the west is dependent upon an ample and safe water supply. 

This amendment will provide the Bureau of Reclamation increased funding to continue with these types of projects while simultaneously improving public health and protecting the environment.

These projects are critically important during drought years so that water is appropriately allocated for both municipal and agricultural uses. 

The Bureau’s budget has been previously used for the California Central Valley Project, the Washington State Yakima Basin Water Enhancement Project, the Arkansas Valley Conduit in Colorado, and the Lewiston Orchard Project in the Chairman’s home state of Idaho.  It is our hope that this amendment gives the Bureau of Reclamation the resources it needs to advance vital projects that resolve water shortage issues in the West while enhancing regional development and promoting job growth. 

In March, Tipton led a bipartisan letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee requesting sufficient funding in the FY 2016 Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations bill to the Water and Related Resources account to ensure the USBR satisfies its commitments to continue funding for authorized projects which have fully completed environmental compliance. The Arkansas Valley Conduit meets those criteria. See a pdf of the letter HERE.

The Arkansas Valley Conduit is the final component of the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project, a water diversion and storage project in the lower Arkansas Valley. Once constructed, the Conduit will deliver clean drinking water to families, producers and municipalities throughout Southeastern Colorado. Members of the Colorado delegation have fought annually for the necessary resources to move the project forward.

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Western Leaders Press Feds on Unclear, Heavy-Handed Approach to Domestic Sheep Grazing

2015/04/29

WASHINGTON—Congressman Scott Tipton (R-CO) and a number of his Western colleagues reiterated a request to the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Interior for, “steps focused on finding solutions that prevent further loss of the domestic sheep industry and setbacks in the conservation of wild sheep.” Their letter outlines concerns with the unclear communication from the U.S. Forest Service (FS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on the issue as they have closed domestic sheep grazing allotments throughout the West, as well as with the lack of adequate scientific consultation and public discussion on the agencies’ heavy-handed actions, and on the absence of a clear plan to eliminate risks of disease transmission and identify alternative allotments to allow grazing to continue without disrupting the wild bighorn sheep population.

In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, Tipton and his colleagues wrote:

Dear Secretary Vilsack & Secretary Jewell:

We write to repeat our request for steps focused on finding solutions that prevent further loss of the domestic sheep industry and setbacks in the conservation of wild sheep.  We appreciate both Robert Bonnie, Under Secretary for the Natural Resources and Environment, and you, Secretary Jewell, for taking the time to address some of the issues raised in our letter dated June 30, 2014. However, multiple questions and concerns were not addressed in your responses and there continues to be a general lack of clarity on the issue.  The Forest Service in particular needs to hold the necessary public forums to present maps of presumed risk areas, levels of acceptable risk, and encourage public discussion of how these areas and levels were identified, which areas pose the greatest actual risks, and what options are available to eliminate those risks. 

The June, 2014 letter recommended certain actions that would reduce domestic and bighorn sheep conflict and corresponding allotment depletion. We suggested placing potential alternative allotments on the rescissions schedule, under the authority Congress granted the agency, in order to fulfill any requirements and compliance with the National Environment Policy Act (NEPA). We thank Under Secretary Bonnie for addressing allotments in his response stating that the agency is continuing “to review the status of these allotments and provide information to the field so that they can more readily see what options are available.” However, neither response addressed the rescissions schedule request.

Our previous letter also raised the issue of alternative allotments, which must be identified and made available if domestic sheep operators are to be relocated. We believe the proper NEPA, environmental and procedural analysis should be completed before relocation occurs.  Neither letter addressed what specifically the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) or the Department of the Interior (DOI) is doing to make alternative allotments available. We cannot determine whether the departments even have a reliable method for identifying the entire set of allotments from which they can determine which are suitable for sheep grazing and why or why not.  We thank Under Secretary Bonnie for acknowledging that, “the Washington Office will be working with Regional Foresters to help National Forest managers find alternative allotments that are suitable for domestic sheep use.” However, we want to know more specifically that managers are reviewing all suitable allotments, including those that have been closed for reasons that would be unaffected by sheep grazing if reopened.  This information is necessary to ensure all options for successful transition are considered and that alternative allotments can be found with similar forage types and amounts, in reasonable proximity to current allotments, and in compliance with federal grazing standards before relocation occurs.

In addition, our letter asked that you provide us with the statutory authority the agency is using to justify the U.S. Forest Service’s (USFS) decision to include sunset language in its grazing analysis. As was mentioned in our letter, we strongly oppose the action to close all livestock grazing and not authorize forage reserves. It is premature to close allotments before knowing which pose high risks and which low.  The decision would be very short-sighted if alternative forage is needed due to drought, wildfire, or wildlife driven relocation. We continue to seek an explanation of the statutory authority used to pursue this action.  Furthermore, if alternative allotments for domestic sheep are determined to be in order after consultation with state agencies and other stakeholders, the existing allotments should be made available to other types of livestock grazing or placed in a forage reserve. Existing sheep grazing allotments should not be closed to all livestock grazing due to overlap between bighorn and domestic sheep.

In regards to our inquiry on zero risk/zero tolerance, we acknowledge Secretary Jewell’s clarification that, “the BLM does not have to manage for zero risk to bighorn sheep from domestic sheep grazing, and the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ recommendations recognize that zero risk is “impossible” to achieve.” However, Under Secretary Bonnie did not address zero risk in his response. We seek confirmation that the USFS does not have a mandate to manage for zero risk/zero tolerance when looking at species viability. 

We are concerned by the lack of collaboration with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), state wildlife authorities, and the most knowledgeable and directly-affected stakeholders in analyzing disease transmission. In particular, ARS is the lead scientific research agency for USDA, yet neither of your letters mentioned ARS’ involvement in addressing issues facing domestic sheep and bighorn sheep. As you are well aware, the reports that accompanied the FY 2014 and FY 2015 Agriculture and Interior appropriations bills contained congressional guidance specifically directing USFS collaboration with ARS.  How are your departments complying with congressional direction?

The November 21, 2014 appellee response brief submitted by the USDA and the Wilderness Society stated that ARS, “does not have special expertise with respect to the wildlife and habitat-management issue before the Forest Service.” The brief went on to claim, “there is no indication that wildlife protection, wildlife disease, and wildlife habitat issues are within the agency’s expertise.” Finally, the brief argued, “But while the Agricultural Research Service plainly has scientific expertise on many agricultural issues, it is not the go-to research service for scientific questions relating to wildlife; that is the Forest Service.”  In the case of the USDA, is the appellee response brief the official USDA position with respect to ARS research?

Scientific contributions should not be limited to a single USDA agency or to federal agencies alone.  Domestic sheep are not wildlife.  The Forest Service should be welcoming, not discouraging domestic sheep expertise from within USDA.  Not only does ARS have needed scientific contributions on this issue, but state fish and wildlife agencies also have management responsibility for wildlife.  We need the science-based reasoning and expertise ARS has to offer in further examining disease transmission.  In fact, much of the past and present research conducted on the question of disease transmission has been, and is being, conducted by ARS and affiliated land-grant scientists at the ARS’ U.S. Sheep Experiment Station and the Animal Research Disease Unit. 

Finally, please provide specific information as to what actions, if any, are being taken by your departments to coordinate responses to bighorn die offs in areas with no domestic sheep presence.  Recurrence of disease and transmission among wild sheep are an important part of this problem.

View the full letter pdf HERE.

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Student Artwork on Display in Pueblo

2015/04/28

3rd District Congressional Art Competition entries can be seen in the Thatcher Building

PUEBLO, CO—The 2015 3rd District Congressional Art Competition is in its final stretch as the artwork entered by high school students from around the district is on display in Pueblo, CO with the winner to be announced next week.

Members of the community are encouraged to come see the students’ artwork, currently on display in Pueblo in the lobby of the Thatcher Building at 503 N. Main Street through May 5th. A panel made up of members of the local art community will choose the winning entries, and a reception for students and the community will be held on May 5th at 5:30 p.m. in the Thatcher Building, where Congressman Scott Tipton will announce the winners.

All entrants will receive a certificate of participation signed by Congressman Tipton. First, second and third places will receive awards, and there will be honorable mentions for other submissions. The first place winner and one family member will receive two donated roundtrip airline tickets to Washington, D.C. to attend the National Exhibit and Reception. The first place artwork will be sent to Washington, D.C. to be exhibited in the U.S. Capitol along with other award-winning art works from across the nation for a period of one year.

Students in grades 9 through 12 that attend school (or homeschool) in the 3rd District were eligible to participate in the competition. To learn more about the competition and the guidelines for participation, please visit: http://tipton.house.gov/serving-you/art-competition.

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Western House Members Introduce Bill to Encourage State-Based Sage Grouse Recovery

2015/04/24

WASHINGTON– This week, Congressman Scott Tipton (R-CO) and his western colleagues introduced the Sage Grouse Protection and Conservation Act (H.R.1997) in the House. The bill, of which Tipton is an original co-sponsor, seeks to empower state-based sage grouse recovery efforts in lieu of a less-effective one-size-fits-all federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing that could upend successful state and local efforts.

“Scientific experts have stated that the most effective way to approach sage grouse recovery is through the state and local preservation efforts already underway. Colorado has been a leader in sage grouse recovery efforts and the ongoing voluntary plans that the state, local governments and private citizens have worked so hard to successfully implement should be given the chance to see continued success without federal interference,” said Tipton, who serves as vice-chairman of the Congressional Western Caucus. “If a healthy and thriving sage grouse population is the goal, then we must have locally-tailored preservation plans like those underway that take into account unique topographic and ecological factors of each region. That is just not possible with a blanket listing out of Washington.”

Tipton, a vocal proponent of state and local species preservation efforts in Congress, has held and participated in numerous Congressional oversight hearings on the issue, worked to advance numerous pieces of legislation in previous Congresses to increase transparency in the ESA listing process and encourage local species preservation plans over federal listings.

Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) is the bill’s lead House sponsor. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) introduced companion legislation in the Senate earlier this week.

Breakdown of H.R. 1997, the Sage Grouse Protection and Conservation Act (Courtesy of Rep. Chris Stewart’s office):

  • Allows a state to create and implement a state-specific conservation and management plan that will successfully protect and restore greater sage-grouse populations and their habitats, in lieu of federal management through land use plan amendments and the ESA.
  • This is not a mandate - a state may choose to defer to federal agencies for greater sage- grouse protection.
  • Requires states, opting to implement their own plan, to collect monitoring data and population trends of greater sage-grouse and report this information to the Secretary of Interior.
  • Requires the Secretary of Interior to share scientific data with states, assist states in crafting and the implementation of the state’s plan, and recognize these state plans for a minimum of 6 years.
  • Prohibits the Secretary of Interior from conducting large-scale mineral withdrawals for the protection of greater sage-grouse.
  • Requires the Secretary of Interior to implement Secretarial Order 3336 to effectively prevent rangeland fire and restore sage brush landscapes on federal lands.

View a pdf of the bill HERE.

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Tipton to Regulators: Action, Not Talk, Needed to Ease Burden on Community Banks

2015/04/23

WASHINGTON—Congressman Scott Tipton (R-CO) told a panel of federal regulatory agency witnesses that stating the need to tailor regulations to fit a bank’s business model and profile isn’t the same as actually doing it. During the House Committee on Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit hearing, Tipton stressed that community banks are suffocating under the weight of one-size-fits-all rules, while regulatory agencies have failed to tailor rules to fit the risk profile and business models of community banks, despite comments from regulators that such steps are needed. 

“Every community banker that visits my office or testifies before this Committee has expressed concern about regulations being indiscriminately applied, either through a rule, guidance or best practice, to the entire industry where in some cases the regulation is actually intended for larger institutions,” said Tipton.

“In my discussions with bankers I hear similar issues and concerns that you have raised, and from the OCC we’re very cognizant of that, and we really take an approach that one size does not fit all,” said Toney Bland, Senior Deputy Comptroller, Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC). During his testimony, Bland also thanked Tipton for the introduction of the Small Bank Exam Cycle Reform Act, legislation that would increase the number of well-managed community banks eligible for an 18-month exam cycle.

Watch Tipton’s exchange with the witnesses HERE

Tipton cited a number of comments made by the panel during the hearing indicating agreement that further regulatory review and action is needed to better tailor rules to fit community banks.

“When I listened to the comments, I heard you saying the things I would love to hear, but are we seeing this actually happen in practice?” Tipton told the panel.

Last week, FDIC Vice Chairman Thomas Hoenig made remarks that regulatory relief should be provided to banks that: hold zero trading assets or liabilities; hold no derivative positions other than interest rate swaps and foreign exchange derivatives; and whose total notional value of all their derivatives exposures is less than $3 billion. Of the 6,500 commercial banks in the U.S., only about 400 do not meet these criteria. His is the latest in a series of comments from regulators expressing the idea that smaller banks are suffering under regulations that are not appropriate for their risk profile.

See the list of witnesses from the hearing and view their full testimony HERE.

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Tipton Votes to Give Small Businesses a Voice in Regulatory Process

2015/04/22

WASHINGTON—Underscoring the harmful impact of one-size-fits-all Dodd-Frank regulations on community banks and small businesses, Congressman Scott Tipton (R-CO) voted today to pass legislation in the House to give small businesses, community banks and credit unions a voice in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) regulatory process. The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Advisory Boards Act (H.R. 1195) would create a Small Business Advisory Board of 15-20 members to advise the CFPB during the rule-making process on economic factors and the practical impacts of regulations.

“We’ve heard far too many stories from rural America of community banks not being able to make loans to local small businesses because of the impacts of Dodd-Frank regulations that were intended for larger institutions. The result is that many community banks and credit unions are unable to do their jobs because they are prohibited from making character loans to small businesses that they have safely made in the past. When small businesses are unable to access capital to grow, opportunities are lost, and in some cases businesses are even forced to close their doors altogether,” said Tipton. “The CFPB needs to foster a better understanding of the business models of community banks and credit unions, take into account the unique challenges they face, and consider the impact regulations have on small businesses and Main Street economies. The intent of this legislation is to give small businesses a voice in the regulatory process, and create an environment where the CFPB, in their rule-making, better mitigates the adverse impacts and unintended consequences of Dodd-Frank regulations on small businesses.”

The CFPB was created under Dodd-Frank as an independent agency within the Federal Reserve System with the purpose of regulating consumer financial products. Tipton has been a vocal critic of the lack of accountability at the CFPB and questionable expenditures at the Bureau.

Tipton, who ran his small business for over 30 years, serves on the House Financial Services Committee, and is the co-founder of the Congressional Small Business Caucus and Vice-Chairman of the Congressional Western Caucus.

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Tipton Votes to Repeal Death Tax, Increase Accountability at IRS

2015/04/16

WASHINGTON– Today, Congressman Scott Tipton (R-CO) lauded the passage of legislation in the House to repeal the death tax. The death tax, or estate tax, penalizes family farms and small businesses across America, oftentimes forcing the next generation, who don’t have assets to pay the death tax on the land or business they just inherited, to shutter the family business, costing jobs and economic growth in the process. Tipton also voted to pass a number of bills this week to increase accountability at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

“The death tax is one of the most unfair and punitive provisions in the US tax code, and has led to the closing of family farms and businesses across America. Rural America is especially hit hard by this onerous tax burden because in most cases, the value of a family farm is directly tied to the land it sits on, and when a family farm is passed to the next generation, many families don’t have the capital to pay punitive estate taxes in addition to continuing to pay employees and maintain business operations,” said Tipton. “Passage of this commonsense legislation takes an important step toward a flatter, fairer and simpler tax code that helps to grow the economy, instead of bureaucracy in Washington. I urge our colleagues over in the Senate to join us in standing up for Main Street and rural America by quickly passing needed reform.”

In addition to the Death Tax Repeal Act (H.R. 1105), the House passed several IRS reform bills this week including the Preventing Targeting at the IRS Act which would make political targeting at the IRS a fireable offense for IRS employees, and legislation prohibiting IRS employees from using personal email for official business. Learn more about the IRS reform bills HERE.

“The abuses of power at the IRS have shaken many Americans’ confidence in the federal government, and raised serious concerns over whether the agency can be trusted to carry out its actions impartially,” said Tipton. “The bills we passed in the House this week seek to provide American taxpayers with greater protections under the law, and increase accountability at the IRS to ensure that employees who engage in inappropriate, non-transparent or politically motivated actions while performing their duties face severe consequences.”

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Western Leaders Reintroduce Bill to Strike Back Against Federal Water Grabs

2015/04/16

Widely supported bipartisan effort seeks to protect water users

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Scott Tipton (R-CO) and Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) reintroduced legislation to protect water users from uncompensated federal takings of privately-held water rights. The Water Rights Protection Act (WRPA), which passed the House in the 113th Congress with bipartisan support, would uphold state water law and priority-based systems. WRPA would provide water users with a line of defense from increasing federal attempts, such as the Forest Service Groundwater Management Directive and ski area permit clause, to take private water rights without compensation or restrict user access to them. This week, Forest Service Deputy Chief Leslie Weldon affirmed comments made by U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell in a February Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing distancing the Forest Service from its Groundwater Directive. Weldon’s testimony indicated that that the agency is for the time being holding off on the controversial directive, but intends to issue a new rule once gathering further input on the issue.

“The steady flow of federal agency actions to assert federal control over private water rights directly interferes with the ability of the American people to access their private property. These federal water grabs undermine the long-held state water law that protects the many uses vital to the Western US, create uncertainty, and jeopardize the livelihoods of communities, individuals, and businesses responsible for thousands of jobs,” said Tipton. “Senator Barrasso and I share a deep commitment with our colleagues to the defense of private water rights, and are dedicated to this cause of stopping nefarious federal overreach and restoring needed certainty to all water users by ensuring that all non-federal water rights are upheld.”

“Federal land agencies have absolutely no business strong-arming individuals or businesses into turning over their privately held water rights as a condition of obtaining or renewing a permit. Despite the Obama Administration’s recent attempt to downplay these outrageous water grabs, there is no guarantee that they won’t pursue policies like this again in the future,” said Barrasso. “Congress must provide clear legislative direction to federal land management agencies or they will continue to impose restrictions that deny agricultural, recreational and economic activity throughout our communities. Representative Tipton and I have teamed up with legislation to provide certainty to water users across the West and block any future attempts by Washington to take over private water rights.”

“The Water Rights Protection Act would stop the federal government from taking water rights, both surface and groundwater, from private parties in violation of state water law and 5th Amendment property rights protections. The intent of the bill is narrow –to protect valuable property interests of ski areas and other permittees that use federal land from seizure without compensation by the federal government,” wrote the National Ski Areas Association. “Essentially everyone agrees on the need for this protection, given past and current Forest Service policy that demands transfer of valuable water rights to the U.S. without compensation.”

“The U.S. Forest Service and other federal agencies have begun to require privately owned businesses to surrender long-held water rights –which they have paid for and developed –as a condition of receiving renewals in their special use permits that allow them to operate on public land,” wrote the American Farm Bureau Federation in support of WRPA. “This kind of power grab by the federal government violates federal and state law and would ultimately upset water allocation systems and private property rights on which western economies have been built.”

The Water Rights Protection Act (H.R. 1830):

  • Prohibits agencies from implementing a permit condition that requires the transfer of privately-held water rights to the federal government in order to receive or renew a permit for the use of land;
  • Prohibits the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture from imposing other conditions that require the transfer of water rights without just compensation;
  • Upholds longstanding federal deference to state water law;
  • Maintains environmental safeguards, and will not impact Bureau of Reclamation water contracts in any way. Likewise, the legislation will have no impact any authority existing within a jurisdiction. These are outside the scope of the legislation.
  • Has no cost to taxpayers.

Original cosponsors include: Senate: Sens. Mike Crapo, Mike Enzi, Deb Fischer, Jeff Flake, Cory Gardner, Orrin Hatch, Dean Heller, and James Risch. House: Reps. Mark Amodei, Jason Chaffetz, Mike Coffman, Paul Gosar, Raul Labrador, Doug LaMalfa, Doug Lamborn, Mia Love, Cynthia Lummis, Tom McClintock, GT Thompson, Steve Pearce, Reid Ribble, Mike Simpson, Lamar Smith, Chris Stewart, Bruce Westerman, Ryan Zinke, Mike Kelly, Trent Franks, Tom Reed and Ken Buck.

Endorsement highlights in the 114th Congress include: National Ski Areas Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, Family Farm Alliance, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Public Lands Council, American Sheep Industry Association, CLUB 20, Colorado Wool Growers Association, State Farm Bureaus, and numerous additional state and local government and water conservation district endorsements.

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Forest Service Doubles Down on Intent to Revive Groundwater Directive

2015/04/15

WASHINGTON—Following U.S. Forest Service Deputy Chief Leslie Weldon’s comments yesterday in a Natural Resources Subcommittee hearing indicating that the agency plans to “publish a new draft” of the controversial Groundwater Management Directive, Congressman Scott Tipton (R-CO) underscored the need for a permanent legislative solution to protect private water rights from federal takings and interference, and provide water users with needed certainty.

“This Committee, as well as several States, asked us to not proceed with the proposed draft and to consult with them before moving forward. We have listened and are actively having those conversations now,” Weldon testified. “In fact, in recent hearings the Chief of the Forest Service stated that the proposed directive has been put on hold. We will publish a new draft for a new round of public comment before any direction is finalized.”

See Weldon’s full testimony HERE.

Weldon’s testimony echoed comments made by U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell in a February Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing in which he stated that the agency was holding off on its controversial Groundwater Directive with the intent to issue a new rule once gathering further input on the issue.

“The Forest Service has stated multiple times in recent months that they are regrouping before moving forward with another version of the Groundwater Management Directive, which would drastically expand the agency’s control over groundwater. We should take their word that another effort is forthcoming, understand this is only a temporary reprieve, and do everything possible to prevent this federal water grab—regardless of its future rebranded form—from going into effect and restricting the ability of Western water users, who rely on privately-held water rights for their livelihoods, from accessing their property,” said Tipton. “Until a permanent legislative solution is in place that protects water users from federal takings and interference, and upholds state water law and priority-based systems as the Water Rights Protection Act would do, water users will continue to be under assault from a federal government dead-set on increasing its control over Western water.”

Tipton also spoke against the Directive and the Forests Service’s plans to move forward with it during the hearing yesterday. Watch his statement HERE.

Tipton is reintroducing the Water Rights Protection Act this week.

The Water Rights Protection Act:

  • Prohibits agencies from implementing a permit condition that requires the transfer of privately-held water rights to the federal government in order to receive or renew a permit for the use of land;
  • Prohibits the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture from imposing other conditions that require the transfer of water rights without just compensation;
  • Upholds longstanding federal deference to state water law;
  • Maintains environmental safeguards, and will not impact Bureau of Reclamation water contracts in any way. Likewise, the legislation will have no impact any authority existing within a jurisdiction. These are outside the scope of the legislation.
  • Has no cost to taxpayers.
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Contact Information

218 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-4761
Fax 202-226-9669
tipton.house.gov

Committee Assignments

Financial Services

Congressman Scott Tipton was raised in Cortez, Colorado. He graduated from Ft. Lewis College in Durango, where he studied Political Science and became the first person in his family to earn a college degree. After college, he returned home to Cortez and co-founded Mesa Verde Indian Pottery with his brother Joe. It was through his business that Scott met his wife, Jean, who is a former school teacher. The Tipton’s have two daughters, Liesl and Elizabeth, and two  sons-in-law, Chris and Jace.

After a lifetime running his small business, Scott was elected as a Republican to the Colorado House of Representatives for the 58th District in November of 2008. During his time at the state House, he worked to ensure quality water for the people of Colorado and to improve the air quality of Southwest Colorado. He also sponsored legislation to protect children from the worst criminal offenders by mandating harsher penalties for child sex-offenders and allowing law enforcement to collect DNA evidence from suspects through Jessica’s Law and Katie’s Law.

Scott was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010 and again in 2012 for a second term.

In the 112th Congress, Scott pushed hard to advance a federal version of Katie’s Law to encourage additional states to implement minimum DNA collection standards and enhanced collection processes for felons in order to strengthen law enforcement’s ability to prevent violent crimes, and protect women and children.  That effort became a reality when the President signed Katie’s Law on January 3, 2013.

Using his positions on the House Natural Resources, Agriculture and Small Business Committees, Scott has is fighting for the issues that most directly impact Coloradans, many of which involve our state’s extensive open spaces and natural resources.  In his first term, Scott introduced legislation to encourage healthy forest management and prevent wildfire, as well as passed a bill in the House with bipartisan support to advance the development of clean, renewable hydropower.  He is also leading the charge in Congress to stop a federal grab of privately-held water rights, standing up for farmers and ranchers, the ski industry, and all who rely on their water rights to survive.

Scott is champion of advancing an all-of-the-above energy solution that balances common sense conservation with responsible development. He passed the Planning for American Energy Act through the House (as a title under the American Domestic Energy and Jobs Act) to put requirements into place to develop wind, solar, hydropower, geothermal, oil, natural gas, coal, oil shale and minerals, based on the needs of the American people.

Scott has used his experience as a small businessman to inform his work as a Subcommittee Chairman on the Small Business Committee. Here he has worked to protect farmers and ranchers from regulatory overreach, as well as push for expanded trade opportunities for Colorado products. Scott is a co-founder of the Congressional Small Business Caucus, a bipartisan caucus committed to open dialogue on the issues that most impact small businesses.  Members of the Congressional Small Business Caucus are dedicated to advancing efforts to foster the economic certainty needed for small businesses and entrepreneurs to succeed and create jobs.

In the 113th Congress, Scott continues to represent the many interests of one of the most diverse and geographically vast districts in the nation. He will fight to bring Colorado common sense to Washington—focusing on reforming regulation, protecting Colorado’s natural environment, encouraging responsible all-of-the-above energy development, reducing government spending, and removing hurdles so that small businesses can do what they do best—create jobs.


Serving With

Ken Buck

COLORADO's 4th DISTRICT

Doug Lamborn

COLORADO's 5th DISTRICT

Mike Coffman

COLORADO's 6th DISTRICT

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