Friday letters: Weiser’s water positions, GarCo BOCC stronghold questioned

Weiser counter to Colorado water interests

Several newspapers endorsed Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser for another term, some even calling him a leader in “protecting Colorado water.” That misses the mark by a mile.

When EPA tried to assert jurisdiction over nearly all water in the country, Colorado led the lawsuit, joined by over half the states, and won at the Supreme Court. But after his election, Weiser reversed course, demanding reinstatement of the federal water grab known as WOTUS, even though the court had already ruled it violated the law. Now he has filed a brief supporting EPA in an Idaho action against property owners seeking to build a home on their own land. 

Even worse, when the Bureau of Reclamation demanded all seven states on the Colorado River drastically curtain their water use — even though Colorado is the only state not using its full share — all the Upper Basin states pushed back. But Weiser remained silent, letting others fight for Colorado’s interest. Instead, he talks about the importance of understanding water law when states get together to renegotiate the Interstate Compact.

Every Colorado Attorney General in the last century has said there will be no renegotiation. All understood Colorado is badly outnumbered, its future protected only by the Compact preserving our right to develop water at our own pace. Suggestions for renegotiating the Compact are a threat to Colorado, on which we have always been of one mind and one party — until Phil Weiser.

His opponent, John Kellner, an accomplished litigator, is rock solid on defending Colorado water against its greatest threat — federal control. He understands the magnitude of water issues to our future and has vowed to use the office to ensure that Coloradans make Colorado water decisions.

Some may think “protecting Colorado water” means sending it to California or letting Washington bureaucrats decide who gets how much for what purpose. That is contrary to the Colorado Constitution. An Attorney General sworn to defend that document must act decisively against all threats. John Kellner is the clear choice.

Greg Walcher, former Executive Director, Colorado Department of Natural Resources


Time for GarCo BOCC change

The Garfield County commissioners have influence beyond the boundaries of their jurisdiction and the county is the home for a large part of the work force that serves the Aspen/Snowmass area. This traveling workforce exacerbates problems in the municipalities throughout the county that is suffering to provide affordable housing, childcare, face the realities of climate change and provide safety for its residents. 

The commissioners control the discussion as to which issues are to be taken seriously enough to be addressed by them and to form effective action plans. All three of the current commissioners have sat on the board for 12 years or more and it is time for the board membership to change.

We need commissioners with a regional approach that can bring Pitkin, Eagle and Garfield together in collaboration to address mutually shared problems. Collaboration cannot happen without effective communication and no community, town or government entity is an island. 

Location of affordable housing 70 miles from Aspen/Snowmass is not affordable, and our transportation systems and road networks deserve a more comprehensive plan. It is time for all the stakeholders in Pitkin and Garfield County to work with RFTA to improve the transit connection to the Highway 82 corridor and the proposed South Bridge corridor in Glenwood Springs. Collaboration is essential to providing more choices for the multi-modal access to the transportation systems needed to reduce congestion. 

Ryan Gordan has the engineering skills to be a champion for working collectively beyond politics to bring about a unified approach to the common problems we share. Please vote for Ryan Gordon in the upcoming election. 

David and Carol Hauter, Glenwood Springs

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