Today - March 13 - the US House of Representatives will be voting on HR 3189, the Water Rights Protection Act. The bill originated as a response to Forest Service policy that required ski areas to transfer their snowmaking water rights to the US as a condition of their ski area permits. Unfortunately, the actual legislation as passed by House Committee goes far beyond addressing that narrow issue - and would jeopardize important authorities for federal land managers to protect streamflows on National Forests and other public lands. These "bypass flow" authorities ensure that minimum stream flows can be maintained below dams and diversions on pubilc lands. Colorado Congressman Jared Polis (2nd CD), whose district includes some of Colorado's most popular ski areas, was a cosponsor of HR3189, but in light of the threat the bill now poses to healthy rivers has withdrawn his support and plans to offer an amendment to narrow the bill to its original purpose - requiring the Forest Service to adopt a new policy for ski area water rights which does not require their ownership to be transferred to the US Government.
Colorado TU thanks Congressman Polis for standing with Colorado's rivers, and supporting common-sense, balanced solutions that help protect healthy waterways while meeting the needs of Colorado's ski industry. Click here to see Colorado TU's letter to the Congressman. If you live in the 2nd Congressional District, please take a moment to thank the Congressman for his leadership - you can email him by clicking here.