Western States Water Council

A Voice for Water in the West 


#453 – Regarding Water Related Federal Rules, Regulations, Directives, Orders and Policies

Position #453 – July 22, 2020

WHEREAS, Presidential Executive Order 13132, issued on August 4, 1999, requires federal agencies to “have an accountable process to ensure meaningful and timely input by State and local officials in the development of regulatory policies that have federalism implications…;” and

WHEREAS, an increasing number of federal regulatory initiatives and directives are being proposed that threaten principles of federalism, an appropriate balance of responsibilities, and the authority of the states to govern the appropriation, allocation, protection, conservation, development and management of the waters within their borders; and

WHEREAS, taking such actions goes beyond the intent of the applicable laws; and

WHEREAS, a number of these recent proposals have been made with little substantive consultation with State Governments; and

WHEREAS, a Western Federal Agency Support Team (WestFAST) now comprised of twelve water-related federal agencies was created pursuant to a recommendation of the Western Governors’ Association and Western States Water Council to foster cooperation and collaboration between the federal agencies and States and state agencies in addressing water resource needs; and

WHEREAS, State consultation should take place early in the policy development process, with the States as partners in the development of policies; and

WHEREAS, federal agencies have inappropriately dismissed the need to apply this requirement to their rulemaking processes and procedures; and

WHEREAS, water quantity regulation and management are the prerogatives of States, and water rights are private property, protected and regulated under State law.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that nothing in any federal rule, regulation, directive, order or policy should affect, erode, or interfere with the lawful government and role of the respective States relating to: (a) the appropriation and allocation of water from any and all sources within their borders; and/or (b) the withdrawal, control, use, or distribution of water; and/or (c) affect or interfere with any interstate compact, decree or negotiated water rights agreement; and/or (d) application, development and/or implementation of rules, laws, and regulations related to water.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that federal agencies with water related responsibilities fully recognize and follow the requirements of Executive Order 13132 by establishing and implementing appropriate procedures and processes for substantively consulting with States, their Governors, as elected by the people, and their appointed representatives, such as the Western States Water Council, on the implications of their proposals and fully recognize and defer to States’ prerogatives.

see former Position #411 – June 29, 2017; and
Position #371 – August 11, 2014