Following Congressional Pressure, U.S. Forest Service Withdraws Overreaching Groundwater Directive

“I will remain vigilant against any further attempts to override state water laws and extort private water rights”

A Handbook for Ranch Managers At least they throw us a small bone every once in awhile. But, if we intend to survive, we must remain eternally vigilant. — jtl

via Arizona Cattle Growers Association

WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 14, 2015 – Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after U.S. Forest Service Deputy Chief Leslie Weldon announced the decision to Planned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference Manualpermanently withdraw the Proposed Directive on Groundwater Management (Groundwater Directive) during today’s House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans:

“Attempted water grabs by federal agencies during the Obama Environmental & Natural Resource Economics: The Austrian ViewAdministration have been atrocious. Whether it is Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS), the Ground Water Service Directive, or the ski area water rights permitting conditions, the federal government has attempted an all-out assault to take control of precious water resources that have traditionally been managed by states or private ownership.

The Betrayed: On Warriors, Cowboys and Other Misfits“Even worse, the manner in which these misguided regulations have been proposed completely ignored any input from the relevant stakeholders and state water managers. These attempted water grabs threaten to undermine the successful relationships previously developed between state and federal officials.

Combat Shooter's HandbookReconnaissance Marine MCI 03.32f: Marine Corps Institute“While I am pleased to see the U.S. Forest Service back away from its unnecessary and overreaching groundwater directive, I will remain vigilant against any further attempts to override state water laws and extort private water rights.”


The Essence of Liberty: Volume I: Liberty and History: The Rise and Fall of the Noble Experiment with Constitutionally Limited Government (Liberty and ... Limited Government) (Volume 1)  The Essence of Liberty: Volume II: The Economics of Liberty (Volume 2) The Essence of Liberty: Volume III: A Universal Philosophy of Political Economy (Liberty: A Universal Political Ethic) (Volume 3) The Groundwater Directive would initiate the Forest Service’s authority over state-managed groundwater resources claiming that surface water and groundwater is “hydraulically interconnected” and that the agency could object to state-regulated projects on “adjacent” land that purportedly harm groundwater.

Congressman Gosar and 42 lawmakers previously sent a letter on June 24, 2014, to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack warning that the U.S. Forest Service’s recently proposed Groundwater Resource Management Directive will restrict access to public lands and interfere with state and private water rights. They also urged withdrawing the directive at that time. That letter can be found HERE

PLC/NCBA Affiliate Update: US Forest Service Withdraws Groundwater Directive

Tuesday (4/14) afternoon during a hearing of the House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Power, and Oceans, US Forest Service Deputy Chief Leslie Weldon testified, stating “we are not moving forward with the proposal [groundwater directive] at this time”.

Weldon did however imply that a future proposed directive or rule could be released after they collaborate with the states and interested parties – something we will follow closely and further oppose any proposals we see as reaching beyond legal limits on federal authority.

The livestock industry applauds this announcement and follows a years-long effort opposing any expansion of federal control over water beyond existing limited control via federal statute and federal reserve rights. We will continue to strongly defend private and state water rights. In September of last year we submitted detailed written comments (attached) to the US Forest Service on why the proposed directive was outside the agencies legal authority and requested it be withdrawn. The Western Resources Legal Center (WRLC) through their legal externship program and with input from PLC and NCBA drafted the comments opposing the directive – these comments were also provided to Capitol Hill in our efforts to shut down the directive.

We are continuing to work with Congressman Tipton (CO) and Senator Barrasso (WY) on legislation that would explicitly protect water rights and specifically block the US Forest Service from any future attempts to usurp state control over groundwater. Rep Tipton is preparing to reintroduce the Water Rights Protection Act, similar to the version from last session, very soon.


In mid-2014 the US Forest Service released a proposed directive on groundwater which was followed by a comment period. The livestock industry, from the beginning, weighed in with strong opposition to the federal government expanding their regulatory reach through this directive. The directive would have allowed the Forest Service to change any decisions/activities on or near National Forest System lands based on their interpretation on how those activities could affect groundwater.

Earlier this year, Chief of the Forest Service, Tom Tidwell, during a Senate Hearing had announced that the Forest Service was delaying work on the directive and reiterated that point during the PLC legislative conference earlier this month.

Environmental & Natural Resource Economics: The Austrian View

edited by

Dr Jimmy T (Gunny) LaBaume

Is now available in both PAPERBACK and Kindle

BookCoverImageMurray N. Rothbard was the father of what some call Radical Libertarianism or Anarcho-Capitalism which Hans-Hermann Hoppe described as “Rothbard’s unique contribution to the rediscovery of property and property rights as the common foundation of both economics and political philosophy, and the systematic reconstruction and conceptual integration of modern, marginalist economics and natural-law political philosophy into a unified moral science: libertarianism.”

This book applies the principles of this “unified moral science” to environmental and natural resource management issues.

The book started out life as an assigned reading list for a university level course entitled Environmental and Natural Resource Economics: The Austrian View.

As I began to prepare to teach the course, I quickly saw that there was a plethora of textbooks suitable for universal level courses dealing with environmental and natural resource economics. The only problem was that they were all based in mainstream neo-classical (or Keynesian) theory. I could find no single collection of material comprising a comprehensive treatment of environmental and natural resource economics based on Austrian Economic Theory.

However, I was able to find a large number of essays, monographs, papers delivered at professional meetings and published from a multitude of sources. This book is the result. It is composed of a collection of research reports and essays by reputable scientists, economists, and legal experts as well as private property and free market activists.

The book is organized into seven parts: I. Environmentalism: The New State Religion; II. The New State Religion Debunked; III. Introduction to Environmental and Natural Resource Economics; IV. Interventionism: Law and Regulation; V. Pollution and Recycling; VI. Property Rights: Planning, Zoning and Eminent Domain; and VII. Free Market Conservation. It also includes an elaborate Bibliography, References and Recommended Reading section including an extensive Annotated Bibliography of related and works on the subject.

The intellectual level of the individual works ranges from quite scholarly to informed editorial opinion.


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About Land & Livestock Interntional, Inc.

Land and Livestock International, Inc. is a leading agribusiness management firm providing a complete line of services to the range livestock industry. We believe that private property is the foundation of America. Private property and free markets go hand in hand—without property there is no freedom. We also believe that free markets, not government intervention, hold the key to natural resource conservation and environmental preservation. No government bureaucrat can (or will) understand and treat the land with as much respect as its owner. The bureaucrat simply does not have the same motives as does the owner of a capital interest in the property. Our specialty is the working livestock ranch simply because there are so many very good reasons for owning such a property. We provide educational, management and consulting services with a focus on ecologically and financially sustainable land management that will enhance natural processes (water and mineral cycles, energy flow and community dynamics) while enhancing profits and steadily building wealth.
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