The Colorado Observer‘s DC correspondent, Mark Stricherz reports:
WASHINGTON — A Colorado House Republican accused the federal government of using a little-known directive to wrest water rights away from Western states and private-property owners.
Rep. Scott Tipton of Cortez said U.S. Interior Department officials have seized on a 2012 order called the National Blueways Initiative to usurp private water rights. “I’m concerned about federal overreach of the Blueways program,” Tipton said at a hearing of the House Committee on Natural Resources Thursday.
His comment came during an exchange with a municipal water district official from a Western state who testified before the Water subcommittee. “Could a New Jersey resident who has used a raft on a Colorado river be considered a stakeholder under the law? It’s a little vague,” Tipton said.
“As I read it, yes,” said Russell Boardman, supervisor of the Shoshone Conservation District in Frannie, Wyoming.
…Rep. Grace Napolitano, an influential California Democrat on the Natural Resources panel, said she did not know the specifics of the Blueways program and expressed sympathy for critics, but trusts Salazar’s intentions for the initiative. “He’s a farmer, so he knows a lot about agriculture. He protects the land,” she said in an interview after the hearing.
…Tipton said he spoke with Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., and Rep. Jared Polis, D-Boulder, about the Blueways order, but did not get a commitment from them to support legislation on the issue. A Udall spokesman did not return comment.
In 2008, remember that Senator Barry Obama used Western water issues as a parochial issue to wedge his opponent John McCain in Colorado.
DENVER – The water compact that Colorado and other upper basin states have with California and Arizona should be renegotiated, U.S. Sen. John McCain said Thursday.
…”Senator McCain’s position on opening up the Colorado River Compact is absolutely wrong and would only happen over my dead body,” [Senator Ken] Salazar said. “It’s an anathema to the fundamental principles of Colorado’s water rights and our compacts.”
In an interesting twist, the same Ken Salazar who was trotted out to attack McCain is the one who instituted the program as Obama’s Interior Secretary which threatens Western water rights.
When a candidate against Mark Udall emerges…yes ColoradoPols, there will be an opponent…water may well be part of the case against Mark Udall.
While Obama declared a war on the state’s water rights and ski areas, Udall did nothing.