|...Bert Gildart photo|
From American Rivers via Midcurrent...
As winter sets in across the country and our outdoor pursuits turn to thoughts of cutting some turns on the slopes along with wetting a line on our local beat, an avalanche is careening downhill and the nation’s rivers and public lands are directly in its path.
H.R. 3189, the so called “Water Rights Protection Act” , introduced by Representatives Scott Tipton (R-CO) and Jared Polis (D-CO) in the House and Senator John Barasso (R- WY) , in the Senate (S. 1630) represents one of the most anti –environmental attacks in the 113th Congress. The legislation could mean serious impacts for anglers and boaters and the rivers and forests where they spend their hard earned free time.
The bill’s authors said it was intended to address a narrow water rights conflict between Colorado’s ski industry and the U.S. Forest Service. But somewhere along the way, the ski industry invited other big moneyed interests to join the party. The National Ski Areas Association worked with Big Ag and their lobbyists in DC to draft a much more expansive bill that would handcuff Federal agencies and prevent them from protecting rivers and public lands.
The ski industry’s bill would allow private water users to dry up rivers on public lands with impunity. It would tie the hands of Federal agencies tasked with providing flexible water management options on our public lands. If passed, the bill would prevent federal agencies from implementing reasonable safeguards to protect fish, wildlife, and recreational benefits in the nation’s rivers. It would gut any federal law, such as the Endangered Species Act, that permits agencies to place conditions on permits or licenses to keep water in rivers to support fish, wildlife, or in-stream recreation. For instance, the bill could prohibit the Forest Service from requiring water diverters to leave water in streams flowing through National Forests to protect native trout, or stop the Fish and Wildlife Service from requiring flows that attract shad, salmon, and other migratory to fish ladders so that they can safely pass over dams.
For the rest of this really ugly GD tale go to http://www.americanrivers.org/