CARSON CITY – Assemblyman John Ellison released the following statement regarding Assembly Bill 30 and Assembly Bill 51 which would increase the Nevada State Engineer’s authority over water rights in Nevada:
Yesterday the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Mining heard two bills that would radically change over a century and a half of Nevada’s water rights precedent. Assembly Bill 30 and Assembly Bill 51 would allow a junior groundwater pumper to continue pumping despite its impact on senior water rights owner.
These bills would strip senior property rights owners of their property rights, their property date, and result in a “Taking” under the Nevada Constitution. Additionally, these bills give overreaching authority to the State Engineer.
Given the State Engineer’s historic mismanagement of Nevada’s water resources, these bills leave far too much discretion to the State Engineer. We saw a wide consensus of opposition that ranged from industry to ranchers and farmers that not one person testified in support of either bill.
We cannot allow an unelected bureaucrat to wield this much power over one of our state’s most precious resources. I’m reminded of the famous Mark Twain quote, “Whiskey is for drinking; water is for fighting over.” I will never stop fighting for the rights of senior property rights owners in my district and throughout Nevada.”