The Forest Service has backed off its water rustling threat to steal the livelihood of Colorado ski resorts in exchange for a little blackmail that essentially restricts the use of private water rights holders.
The government’s original plan demanded that ski areas turn over their water rights to them, in exchange for the permits that resorts need to continue operating on public land.
According to the Denver Post, the new plan allows ski resorts to keep their water rights, but requires them to prove they have enough water to keep ski areas operational in the future.
The Post says the decision was praised by ski resorts, however U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton correctly says it’s a failed attempt to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.
By the Forest Service Chief’s own admission, there has not been an instance of ski area water rights being sold off for other uses. Furthermore, there is still ongoing concern that while the Forest Service may not require the outright transfer of private water rights in this directive, it is still enforcing manuals that do.
Specifically, that would be section 2541.32 of the 2007 Forest Service Water Uses and Development Manual. It says the Forest Service can claim water rights held by its permitees or contractors in the name of these United States for its own use “to carry out activities related to multiple use objectives.”
Although the media proclaims this
blackmail agreement as a big win for ski resorts, we’re skeptical.
The Obama administration has been intent on stealing western water rights by expanding its control from federally-held lands onto private property since the moment President Obama stepped into the White House.
We don’t expect them to ease up anytime soon, and this latest “agreement” is nothing but a farce.