Yesterday, Congressman Scott Tipton (R-CO) questioned witnesses on the impact that the proposed U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Groundwater Directive and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) waters of the U.S. rule will have on Western water users including farmers and ranchers, ski areas, municipalities and others during a Water and Power Subcommittee hearing titled, “New Federal Schemes to Soak Up Water Authority: Impacts on States, Water Users, Recreation, and Jobs.” Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell and Bureau of Reclamation Acting Commissioner Lowell Pimley were invited to testify at the hearing but declined to appear to answer questions on the proposed rules. Instead, Tipton questioned Lawrence Martin from the National Water Resources Association (NWRA) on the burden the rules would place on agriculture producers and other users as they attempt to utilize their water rights. Martin told Tipton that the rules add a great deal of uncertainty, delays and costs even for the most basic projects. Martin testified that the Forest Service Directive runs contrary to the long-standing federal policy to defer to states on regulating groundwater, and will impact pending reserved water rights claims in states including Colorado. Tipton has been fighting overreach by the Obama Administration, and has been fighting against what he calls the largest water grab in U.S. history. You can see video of yesterday’s exchange below.