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Letter to the Editor

By Scott Chamberlain Aurora

Dear Editor,
Are you like me and don’t pay much attention to what our State and local officials really do support? This last year I discovered that my State Representative, Representative McIff (District 70, Sevier, Emery, and parts of Grand Counties) sponsored a bill that would allow individual shareholders to strip away the water rights from irrigation companies against the companies’ wishes. I can’t imagine why a representative of rural Utah would do that when agriculture is such a big part of our communities. Could you imagine if a GM share holder was allowed to take their shares out of the company by removing parts of the assembly line or a timeshare holder of a resort condo to take their shares out by removal of the furniture? The result would be the devaluation of the remaining shares and would be harmful to the company. The results for an irrigation company are the same.
Currently an irrigation company has the right to allow a shareholder to withdraw water when it is determined by the company and or other shareholders that it would not be detrimental to the company or other shareholders. With HB 49 the individual could go to the State Water Rights Engineer and the State could then legally force the company to give up the water regardless of the companies’ wishes. The Bill also weakens the companies’ ability to assess individuals that remove water out of the water system. I thank the representatives that had the foresight and belief in keeping government out of the private dealings of our small and generally non-profit irrigation companies. Our job as voters does not end at the ballot. It is a job that has no end.

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