WASHINGTON – Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) thanked Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman for notifying Congress of the federal government’s intent to transfer ownership of two federal water projects in Utah to local water user organizations.
“It’s not every day that the federal government gives land back to local communities, but we are 90 days away from such a minor miracle becoming reality,” Sen. Lee said. “For far too long local communities have been deprived of the right to own, control, and manage these projects that they have paid for and that are essential to the life of the community. I want to thank Secretary Bernhardt and Commissioner Burman for their outstanding leadership in making this day a reality. I hope these are just the first of many transfers to come.”
The two projects, which will be transferred to local control after a 90-day congressional waiting period, are the Emery County Project in east-central Utah and the Uintah Basin Replacement Project in northeastern Utah.
Upon conveyance of title, the Moon Lake Water Users Association will take ownership of the Uintah Basin Replacement Project, and the Emery County Water Conservancy District will take ownership of the Emery County Project. The two water projects have been fully paid for by the water districts they are being transferred to. Although ownership would change, these water users will continue to manage these facilities to meet current needs in compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local laws and within the terms of the title transfer agreement.