Scott TiptonScott TiptonJune 13, 20185min566

Western Colorado is home to vast natural resources that can and will power the economy through the 21st century and beyond if responsibly developed. It is the role of the federal government to monitor and manage the development of natural resources, which is why I recently hosted a House Natural Resources field hearing along with Chairman Rob Bishop to explore some of the untapped resources available on the Western Slope, and identify the steps that we can take to responsibly utilize them. 


Tom RamstackTom RamstackJanuary 21, 20186min680
WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans argued for a change in regulations during a hearing Friday that would increase the likelihood for a natural gas pipeline from Colorado’s Western Slope to an export facility on the Oregon coast. They are considering legislation that would make the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) the final decision-maker for approval of […]

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Tom RamstackTom RamstackDecember 13, 20176min504
U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner on Tuesday advocated for streamlined government permits to encourage natural gas extraction from Colorado to export markets. During a Senate hearing, Gardner, a Republican from Yuma, questioned an administrator from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission about how to break a deadlock that has impeded the Jordan Cove Energy Project in Oregon. […]

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Scott TiptonScott TiptonJuly 25, 20177min359
U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton
U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton

Energy demand is growing in the United States. In order to meet the energy needs of the future, it is critical that we develop an all-of-the-above energy strategy that incorporates renewable resources as well as responsible development of fossil fuels.

I recently introduced the Planning for American Energy Act, which is a bill that would set us on the path toward creating an all-of-the-above energy strategy by requiring the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior to develop forward-looking energy plans that include all resources: wind, solar, hydropower, geothermal, oil, natural gas, coal, oil shale and minerals.

We will need to make significant investments in energy infrastructure in order to make an all-of-the-above energy future a reality, but the current permitting process for energy infrastructure is a spider web of regulations that often prevents important projects from moving forward.

We recently passed two bills in the House of Representatives to address the permitting process for natural gas and oil pipelines. The two bills, the Promoting Interagency Coordination for Review of Natural Gas Pipelines Act (H.R. 2910) and the Promoting Cross-Border Energy Infrastructure Act (H.R. 2883), centralize permitting authority within the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Too often, energy infrastructure projects get held up in the permitting process for years, even decades. The cost of the project grows and there is no certainty that it will ever be approved. The result? Fewer companies are inclined to build the infrastructure we’ll need to meet future energy demands.

The Promoting Interagency Coordination for Review of Natural Gas Pipelines Act would address part of this problem by requiring any federal agency that is participating in an infrastructure project to either deny or approve a permit within 90 days of FERC completing its review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Another issue that has prevented energy infrastructure projects from moving forward is the lack of any standardized permit process for international projects – projects that cross from the U.S. into Canada or Mexico. Currently, the approval process for international projects follows Executive Order precedent, which can be highly subjective. The lack of certainty hurts U.S. energy infrastructure.

The Promoting Cross-Border Energy Infrastructure Act creates a streamlined, standardized process within FERC for permitting cross-border projects. The bill would also give the Secretary of Energy the authority to approve electric transmission facility projects.

Both of the bills we passed last week are not only critical to U.S. energy security, but they will also help support good-paying jobs in Colorado. The Western Energy Alliance reports that responsible oil and gas development in the Third Congressional District alone supports over 7,800 direct and indirect jobs, totaling over $820 million in wages and over $2.2 billion in total economic output. Sustaining these jobs and their resulting economic output requires investments in energy infrastructure.

While we still have a long way to go, we’ve already seen progress from efforts to simplify and streamline federal regulations. I’m committed to ensuring our regulatory process supports the infrastructure investments we’ll need to create an all-of-the-above energy future and grow good-paying jobs in the United States.


Joey BunchJoey BunchJuly 8, 20176min785

Gross Reservoir in Boulder County could give politicos and water managers a reason to celebrate with a tall, cold glass of H2O instead of bubbly from a magnum Saturday.

After 14 years, Denver Water now has the two critical regulatory documents — a “record of decision” and 404 Permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers — for an expansion that would allow the utility to hedge against drought and better manage the system that delivers water to about 1.4 million Coloradans.

The estimated $380 million project would raise the existing dam by 131 feet to store Colorado River water. Unlike almost every other proposal to use Western Slope flows to quench the thirst of Front Range growth, Gross Reservoir has support on both sides of the Continental Divide, because of agreements forged by Denver Water, the state’s largest water utility.

“Issuance of this permit will unlock significant resources that will allow us to do good things for the river and the environment,” Mely Whiting, counsel for Trout Unlimited, a significant backer of a bigger place to fish, said in a statement.

Learn more about the expansion here.

Denver Water says storing more water in Gross Reservoir is a big part of its long-term plans, which include conservation, reuse and “responsibly sourcing new supply.”

“The state’s responsibility is to ensure we do the right thing for Colorado’s future, and this project is vital infrastructure for our economy and the environment,” Hickenlooper said last year when he added his support. “The partnerships and collaboration between Denver Water, the West Slope and conservation organizations associated with this project are just what the Colorado Water Plan is all about.”

The Gross Reservoir dam has been around since 1954, two years before Hickenlooper was born.

The statewide water plan the governor referenced was released last year and calls for more compromise and collaboration and less litigation and political brinksmanship, which is written large in the history of water in the West.

Support isn’t universal, however, and a group called Save The Colorado said regional environmental groups and hundreds of homeowners in the area are considering a lawsuit to overturn the Army Corps of Engineers’ decision on Gross Reservoir.

“We believe the Army Corps has violated the law,” Gary Wockner of Save The Colorado said. “Denver Water doesn’t need the water, the Colorado River is already severely drained and depleted, and the people of Boulder County don’t want the project. The courts need take a hard look at this decision.”

He added, “Every American river deserves its day in court and the Colorado River deserves the best legal defense we can give it.”

Denver Water secured broad support with the Colorado River Cooperative Agreement inked in 2013 with 18 partners with such concessions as using its water for environmental flows in Grand County, as well as providing providing millions of dollars for sedimentation, aquatic habitats and other needs.

Writing on Hick’s backing a year ago, Marianne Goodland of the Colorado Independent crisply explained the need for water:

Colorado is predicted to face a gap of more than one million acre-feet of water by 2050, according to a 2010 estimate that many believe may be on the low end. One acre-foot of water is the amount of water it would take to cover the field at Mile High Stadium from endzone to end zone with one foot of water. That’s 325,851 gallons of water. The average family of four uses about half an acre–foot of water per year.

The celebrated documents Denver Water now holds are key parts of the National Environmental Policy Act.

While NEPA is a high hurdle, the deal isn’t completely done yet.

“The next milestone we anticipate is approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission of Denver Water’s hydropower license amendment application at some point next year,” said Jeff Martin, Gross Reservoir Expansion program manager, said in a statement from Denver Water.

Denver Water recently hired engineering consulting firm Black & Veatch as its “owner’s representative” — essentially a project manager — and is in the process of landing a design engineer, Martin said.

Dam design, geotechnical work and other pre-construction work are expected to begin next year and the project could be completed by 2025.