Hearing to look at Fry-Ark impacts

Congressional subcommittee meets today at Pueblo Community College.

Scheduled to testify at the hearing are: Drew Peternell, Boulder, director of the Colorado Trout Unlimited Colorado Water Project.


A congressional subcommittee will meet today in Pueblo to review the 45-year history of the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project.

The water and power subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee, chaired by Rep. Grace Napolitano, D-Calif., will meet at 9 a.m. today in the Pueblo Community College Ballroom to look at the project that brought water from the Colorado River basin into the Arkansas River basin.

Two members of the subcommittee, Reps. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., and Mark Udall, D-Colo., will attend today’s hearing. Reps. John Salazar and Rep. Ed Perlmutter, both Colorado Democrats, also plan to be at the hearing.

The hearing is not intended to debate current legislation regarding the Fry-Ark Project, although most of the speakers intend to discuss projects of concern to them, such as the need for more storage, the Arkansas Valley Conduit and the Southern Delivery System.

In Congress, there are competing water storage bills.

Salazar’s Fryingpan-Arkansas legislation would authorize a $10 million state study of the impacts of Arkansas basin water transfers, as well as a $4 million feasibility study that would include looking at enlargement of Lake Pueblo.

Lamborn is sponsoring a different version of the bill, nearly identical to former Rep. Joel Hefley’s failed version of a PSOP bill in 2004. It would authorize the $4 million study along the lines of PSOP.

A fundamental difference in the two bills is the authority of the Bureau of Reclamation to enter contracts with out-of-basin entities such as Aurora. Salazar’s bill specifically prohibits such contracts, while Lamborn’s specifically allows them.

The public will not be given an opportunity to testify, but may observe.

Scheduled to testify at the hearing are:

Bill Long, president, Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District.

Mike Ryan, Great Plains regional director for the Bureau of Reclamation.

Harris Sherman, executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources.

Lionel Rivera, mayor of Colorado Springs.

Terry Scanga, general manager, Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District.

Bill Thiebaut, Pueblo district attorney.

Jay Winner, general manager, Lower Arkansas Water Conservancy District.

Sandy White, La Veta water lawyer.

Ed Tauer, mayor of Aurora.

Drew Peternell, Boulder, director of the Colorado Trout Unlimited Colorado Water Project.

Chris Treese, external affairs manager of the Colorado River Conservation District.

Wally Stealey, rancher and former president, Southeastern district.