March 08, 2005

Crapo Marks Water Amendment Anniversary

McCarran Amendment turns 50 years; implemented in 1953

Washington, DC â?? Idaho Senator Mike Crapo joined with a group of Western Senators in marking the 50th anniversary of an important water rights amendment. Colorado Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell introduced a resolution on the anniversary of the McCarran Amendment in the Senate today; Crapo and Idaho Senator Larry Craig are both co-sponsors of the resolution. The McCarran Amendment, which was adopted in the Department of Justice Appropriations Act of 1953, waives the sovereign immunity of the United States in certain federal water rights claims. The amendment figures prominently in Western water law.â??It has been a long-standing policy of Congress to recognize and defer to the states the authority of allocate and administer water within their borders,â?? Crapo said in marking the anniversary. â??The McCarran Amendment has played a key role in maintaining that policy, and we need to assure that the federal government remains subjected to state procedures and state water laws whenever it seeks to appropriate or acquire water rights. This position has been upheld by the Supreme Court, and I will continue to advocate to make certain that state sovereignty remains regarding water claims.â??Crapo, who is considered an expert in water law, has been a leading proponent in Congress for state sovereignty over water rights. He has introduced several measures and amendments to protect state water authority. He also serves as chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Water, which holds jurisdiction over a number of related water issues.The resolution introduced today reaffirms the policies and principles established by the McCarran Amendment, namely that the U.S. should adhere to and defer to state water law. It also commends Western states that have maintained comprehensive systems regarding water rights claims.# # #