Two of Colorado’s leading wildlife conservation groups, concerned about the future of the state’s natural resources, are strongly opposing Amendment 52 because it would siphon money from water management and wildlife habitat protection.
“This amendment would gut funding for some of our state’s most critical issues including water conservation and development, wildlife protection and work underway to reduce the risk of catastrophic fire in the High Country,” said Suzanne O’Neill, executive director of the Colorado Wildlife Federation.
Amendment 52 would take tax money Colorado now receives from a relatively modest severance tax on the production of oil and gas and target it for highway expansion with particular focus on Interstate 70. The Amendment would reduce successful state efforts to sustain the state’s irreplaceable clean water, air, forests and native wildlife species.
“It appears that the sponsors of this legislation are intent on setting Colorado back for years with a measure that would devastate the state’s Species Conservation Trust Fund and jeopardize the natural resources that define our Western heritage and way of life,” O’Neill said.
Ken Neubecker, president of Colorado Trout Unlimited, said the Amendment would directly threaten the future health of Colorado streams by eliminating needed money for water management and setting the stage for forest fires that would severely damage streams.
“It is shocking that any Coloradans who care about our state’s natural resources and the sustainable economies that depend on healthy wildlife habitat could devise such an onerous measure,” Neubecker said. “Amendment 52 is nothing more than plain, old-fashioned highway robbery.
“And the measure would be a constitutional amendment that locks money now used for water, wildlife and forest management into a fund that legislators could use or abuse as they wish,” he said.
If approved Amendment 52 would:
- Take money away from efforts to minimize the impact of the mountain pine beetle epidemic killing millions of trees and increasing the risk of forest fires around mountain communities.
- Take money away from new water projects that Colorado’s cities and farms are relying on for future prosperity.
- Take money from efforts to stop the spread of invasive species such as the zebra mussel now invading state reservoirs and lakes.
- Take money away from energy assistance program for low-income Coloradans.
“Instead of gimmicks clearly designed to undercut wildlife conservation efforts, legislators should come together to support the work of our wildlife managers, just as the legislature did last year when they unanimously approved the Colorado Habitat Stewardship Act,” Neubecker said.
CONTACT: Suzanne O’Neill
CWF (303) 919-3949
TU (970) 376-1918