The Club 20 fall conference over the weekend brought Senators and Representatives from the state and from Washington D.C. to the Western Slope.
Water rights and public lands are two topics that both Republican Rep. Scott Tipton and Republican Sen. Cory Gardner from Colorado discussed in detail.
Relocating the Bureau of Land Management is a high priority for Gardner, “If your in Washington D.C. you’re a thousand miles removed from 99% of the acres managed by the Bureau of Land Management,”
Gardner says he has had great conversations with Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to move this forward.
“The first step may be to move them out of Washington to a place like Denver where you already have a strong interior presence to the federal center. Then, move out from there once you designate and finalize the final location and I hope that location is indeed Grand Junction, Colorado, right here in the Western Slope,” Gardner said.
Along with public lands Tipton says protecting the state’s forest will save Colorado from having fires and says the House of Representatives recently passed the Resilient Federal Forest Act.
“To be able to go in and to treat those forests, to be able to bring them back to life, to be able to cut down that dead timber. Let’s look at the positives of what can happen when we are actively managing these forests in responsible way,” Tipton said.
Both lawmakers also find themselves on the same page about water rights.
“In Colorado water is a private property right,” Tipton said.
“The federal government should not be able to dictate to Colorado what a Colorado water law or permit is allowed to be,” Gardner said.
Both Gardner and Tipton feel legislation on Colorado water rights will soon pass.
“We’re able to pass that through the house of representatives and out of the committee with by partisan support. That is now over in the senate waiting for action. I’m pleased to be able to report to you that the committee that Cory sits on just dealt the first hearing on that legislation,” Tipton said.
Tipton says he is optimistic that Congress will pass a law to protect Colorado’s water rights and that it will soon be on the president’s desk for his signature.