Concerns over states’ rights prompt withdrawal of proposed regulation

The United Forest Service announced that it will withdraw its proposed rule on groundwater resource management, according to a release from the agency. Groups like the Western Governors Association were concerned that the litigation overreached the USFS’s authority and infringed upon their rights to regulate water supplies.

In its statement, the USFS said that the proposed rule did not adequately meet its needs. “States and a number of other organizations raised concerns that the proposed directive would exceed the Agency’s authorities and infringe on State authorities to allocate water. “

The proposed directive was intended to provide internal agency direction on the consideration of groundwater resources in agency activities, approvals, and authorizations; encourage source water protection and water conservation; establish systematic procedures for reviewing new proposals for groundwater withdrawals on national forest service lands; and require and evaluation of potential impacts from groundwater withdrawals on public resources on national forest service land, according to the USFS.

The agency went on to say that any future directives “will note infringe on State authority, impose requirements on private landowners, or change the long-standing relationship between the Forest Service, States, and Tribes on water.”

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