Letter: Tipton protects water | PostIndependent.com

Letter: Tipton protects water

The ads and letters attacking Congressman Tipton on public lands have begun in earnest, and I would like to set the record straight on the congressman’s support of the use of federal lands to benefit Colorado.

I have worked with Colorado water my entire professional life, in many different capacities. As such, I closely followed the U.S. Forest Service’s proposed claims on Colorado’s water rights.

A controversial draft rule by the Forest Service would have required ski resorts to assign their water rights as a precondition to operating on Forest Service Land, stripping property rights worth millions of dollars from these companies without due process or consideration of the economic impacts. Ever since the advent of widespread snowmaking at ski resorts following the 1977 drought, having physically and legally available water supplies for snowmaking and base area operations have been essential to the survival of the ski industry. They have invested tens of millions of dollars in physical facilities and plans of augmentation.

During this proposed grab, Scott Tipton was one of our most vocal backers in Washington. Even after the proposal was withdrawn, Congressman Tipton sponsored the Water Rights Protection Act, which reaffirms the supremacy of state water law and prohibits the federal government from attempting to claim or transfer water rights to itself. His legislation will keep Colorado’s water in state for our own use and prevent the federal government from determining our water use policy.

In Colorado, water is a finite and precious commodity that fuels our way of life, and I want to thank Scott Tipton for standing up for Colorado on this issue. His legislation will help ensure we keep our water to continue to fuel economic growth and ensure we have enough water to balance the needs of tourism, ranching and a rapidly growing population.

David Merritt

Glenwood Springs