A bill supported by the ski industry that is designed to protect water owned by ski areas could end up damaging rivers across the country.
H.R. 3189, known as the “Water Rights Protection Act,” seems simple on the surface. But the ski industry’s bill would allow private water users to dry up rivers on public lands with no regard for other uses or needs. It would tie the hands of federal agencies responsible for managing water on our public lands. If passed, the bill would prevent agencies like the Forest Service from implementing reasonable safeguards to protect fish, wildlife, and recreational benefits in the nation’s rivers.
This legislation would remove authority exercised for decades by federal land management agencies to ensure there is enough water remaining in a river. It would force federal agencies to put private uses of river water ahead of other beneficial public uses such as fish, wildlife, and recreation.
What happens on public lands affects the availability and quality of water across the U.S. for communities, ecosystems, and economically important recreation such as fishing, rafting, and kayaking.
American Rivers and more than 60 other conservation and recreation groups strongly oppose this bill. Please take action today.
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To: Michael Berry, President, National Ski Areas Association
In 2000, the ski industry adopted an environmental charter committing ski area operators to be leaders among outdoor recreation providers, managing their businesses in a way that demonstrates a commitment to environmental stewardship. The industry pledged to minimize the impact to fish and wildlife and to maintain and even improve habitat where possible. More than 190 resorts have endorsed the Environmental Charter over the past 12 years. During this time, the ski industry has often been a model of sustainable business practices and a valued supporter of the environmental movement.
However, the so-called “Water Rights Protection” bill that you support in fact eliminates vital protections for rivers and undercuts other recreational and environmental uses. Passage of the bill will lead to serious damage to rivers across the U.S. We’re asking the ski industry to change direction and remove your support of this anti-river protection bill.
[Your name here]
With your support, we stopped the bill to privatize rivers on public land that was being pushed by the ski industry and its corporate agriculture and hydrofracker allies. The US Forest Service maintains that it has Constitutional authority to manage water on federal lands and to include conditions for doing so in special use permits. So the Forest Service can remain focused on making sure that there is sufficient water available on public lands for everyone’s use, not just the operation of ski areas. Your voice made an impact. Over 30,000 activists wrote in support of protecting rivers and stopping another attempt by industries to privatize our public lands and rivers. Thank you!