For Immediate Release
October 16, 2015
Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Colorado, 970-218-8310
Bills would completely gut state and federal permitting process to fast-track new dams
Denver, CO: Today, two draft bills were made public in a Colorado legislative committee that would completely gut the state and federal permitting process for new dams and reservoirs in the state of Colorado. The bills are a part of the “Colorado Water Plan” process that is almost nearing its end and was began by an executive order from Governor Hickenlooper in 2013.
Bill 4 would completely gut the state permitting process, taking it away from the water quality, wildlife, and public health professionals in the state government, and turn the permitting over to the Colorado “Office of the State Engineer.”
Bill 5 would take the permitting process away from the federal government — completely gutting the role of the EPA, Army Corps, and Bureau of Reclamation — and turn that all over to the Colorado “Office of the State Engineer.”
“The Colorado river-destruction cartel is making its move in the state legislature,” said Gary Wockner of the Save The Colorado and Save The Poudre organizations. “The Colorado Water Plan process has been gearing up to this — if they can gut permitting, it will create an unstoppable dam-building and river-destruction frenzy across the state.”
The Colorado Water Plan has already made clear that it supports “fully developing compact entitlements” to the state’s water so that no water leaves state boundaries that is not required by federal law. At a meeting this week of the Denver Chamber of Commerce, the power of Colorado’s business community was on full display where it gave its “wish list” to the state board that is creating the Colorado Water Plan which included “reservoir expansion” and it “called on Governor Hickenlooper to take the lead improving the permitting process…” The Colorado Water Plan itself also directly calls for changing the permitting process (chapter 9, slide 12).
“Colorado thinks it owns up to 1 million acre feet of water out of the Colorado River that it has not yet developed, and the state water plan proposes new dams and reservoirs on other rivers across the state,” said Wockner. “Whether you’re in Las Vegas, Las Cruces, or Los Angeles, you better be paying attention because what happens in Colorado does not stay in Colorado.”
The bills will be heard in the Interim Water Resources Review Committee of the Colorado State Legislature on October 29th.
The Colorado Water Plan is expected to be delivered to Governor Hickenlooper on November 19th.