Press Releases

Simpson’s Wilderness Water Bill Signed into Law

Idaho Wilderness Water Resources Protection Act will authorize water diversions that pre-date Idaho wilderness laws

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Washington, Jul 25 | comments

Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson expressed great satisfaction at the news that H.R. 876, the Idaho Wilderness Water Resources Protection Act, which he authored, has been signed into law.  Simpson first introduced the legislation in 2009, and today it was signed by the president.

The Idaho Wilderness Water Resources Protection Act corrects a long-standing oversight in law by authorizing a number of water diversions within the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness Area and the Selway-Bitteroot Wilderness Area in Idaho which existed before the wilderness was created.  The new law will enable landowners to do the necessary maintenance and repairs on these diversions.

“I’m so pleased that the Idaho Wilderness Water Resources Protection Act has finally been signed into law,” said Simpson.  “I introduced this bill five years ago when the Forest Service discovered that it didn’t have the authority to permit repairs on an historic water diversion in the Frank Church.  When we looked into the issue, we learned that a number of pre-existing diversions had been overlooked when the wilderness areas were created.  Any one of these diversions could need repairs to maintain integrity and protect the surrounded ecosystem.  With enactment of this bill, the necessary maintenance and repairs can now be done.”

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