Hickenlooper banjo

Gov. Hickenlooper has failed to convince his friends in the Obama administration to abandon its war on western water rights, however Republican lawmakers are making solid progress.

Those tricky devils in the Forest Service are pursing a new directive that would give them control over groundwater throughout 155 national forests and adjacent lands and water.

Which, we all know, they would lord over ski resorts and other public land permit holders when it comes time to issuing permits for snow making and grazing.

As one can imagine, Coloradans have been deeply, unequivocally, furiously opposed to the water grab first proposed last year.

Hick’s response as chairman of the Western Governors’ Association was to pen a letter in July submitting a list of questions. Yawn.

But it was under the glare of questioning from U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner during a recent Senate hearing that Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell announced the agency would put a hold on the directive.

“We’re going to go back, and we’re going to sit down with — primarily with the states, the state water engineers — to really sit down with them and get their ideas about how we can do this, and ideally how we can do it together,” Tidwell said.

Federal bureaucrats think we’re going to help them take away our water rights? Fat chance. Western GOP lawmakers led by House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop of Utah are demanding that Tidwell cease and desist all efforts.

As they stated in a recent letter:

“…We believe the Forest Service has failed to justify the need for this new policy. The end result has been uncertainty and growing distrust between the Forest Service and state and local governments. Since putting this proposal on a temporary hold only increases uncertainty, we urge you to withdraw this misguided and unnecessary policy on a permanent basis.”

The opportunity for posing question has long passed, Hick. Now it’s time to stand up to your party in Washington and demand this challenge to state authority and historic water rights be abandoned.