As the Front Range continues to grow by leaps and bounds, the issue of supplying those new communities with water is becoming more important by the day. At least to the State’s top Republicans. For Gov. John Hickenlooper and U.S. Michael Bennet… not so much.
Sen. Cory Gardner and Rep. Ken Buck have always been champions of more water storage to accommodate for future growth. At the top of their list is the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP) – a proposed dam in northern Colorado that would store 71 billion gallons of water in two new reservoirs.
NISP took a big leap forward in recent weeks as the Army Corp of Engineers finally released its supplemental draft environmental impact statement on the project. The report is the precursor to at least two public hearings and a public comment period on the plan. The news made the annual NISP rally a real celebration, with Gardner and Buck front and center applauding the progress.
Nowhere to be seen were Hickenlooper and Bennet. Fearful of further pissing off the environmental wing of the party both of them have managed to avoid taking a concrete position on NISP. Hick was unreachable on the day of the rally, which is code for “no comment,” and Bennet famously said of NISP in 2010 that “I don’t believe that’s a decision for me to make.”
As far as NISP is concerned, no position is the same as outright opposition at this point. You would think being the top elected officials in the state would give them a stake in the matter, but appeasing the enviro-wacko wing of the party clearly trumps what’s best for northern Colorado communities.