Looks like Utah’s stream access is about to come under fire once again. The new language is being brought forward by archenemy to public water, Representative Kay Mciff and once again it’s another overconfident bill clouded with deceit.
HB68 is a bad bill – This bill attempts to limit the Utah Public Trust Doctrine scope to the current enacted laws by the Legislature.
Quick Background: The Utah Public Trust Doctrine has little if any definition. The duties are held by the Legislature as “trustee” to the doctrine. This includes land, water, stream use, access, and appropriated water. Trust duties of the Legislature should be for the benefit of the public trust; instead this will only benefit PRIVATE interests. Currently this new bill, HB68, is trying to create HB141 as established “Utah Public Trust Doctrine”. Rep. Mciff is saying his past Legislation has done its duties and his bill (HB 141) is good enough.
Present Issue: What this new bill, HB68, isn’t telling you is HB 141 is presently under ligation in the courts; this new bill is trying to cunningly cover for the bill under fire. The current lawsuit oral arguments are this week and there should be an answer to the first, of two, lawsuit during this legislation. Make no mistake; this bill is a direct retaliation on the existing lawsuit. Rep. Mciff is trying to secure his legal framework with this new bill, HB68, at all costs, even if this means limiting the public drinking water and creating a new property right based on his newly proposed delusional legislation. The appropriators do not want any language regarding Public Trust and furthermore, this language was denied by the Utah Water Development Committee.
It is known that compromise language has been presented and is trying to find a sponsor. The language mirrors Idaho law. This entails: avoid loss of property rights and to protect water right interests of both property owners and the public, resulting in a balanced common sense compromise without establishing Public Trust.
PLEASE reach out to your Representatives and Senators NOW and let them know HB68 is bad for Utah, bad for the pubic, bad for tourism, and frankly, it’s bad for the entire West.
Visit The Utah Stream Access Coalition for more info: http://utahstreamaccess.org/