If they couldn’t fight over water, would longtime rivals Pueblo and Colorado Springs find something else to fight over? Of course! But for now, the ongoing feud over Fountain Creek will do.
The contaminated stormwater that perennially pours into the waterway from the Springs metro area and flows downstream to Pueblo and beyond prompted a lawsuit against Colorado Springs in 2016 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The agencies cited violations of water-quality standards. Pueblo joined the suit even as the two cities started talks and reached an agreement. Colorado Springs agreed to spend $460 million over 20 years on stormwater projects to rein in its runoff. Toward that end, Springs voters agreed in April to give up $12 million in excess tax revenue over two years to spend on stormwater projects.
So, should the state and feds now drop their lawsuit? 5th Congressional District Republican U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs thinks so, as reported last week, and he has asked the Trump administration’s new EPA chief Scott Pruitt to reconsider the litigation. Lamborn’s hope is that the winds of change blowing through the federal agency could shift its tilt on a suit that had been filed under the Obama administration.
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers not surprisingly is hoping the same thing and told The Colorado Springs Gazette last Saturday he welcomed Lamborn’s efforts.
Whatever comes of Lamborn’s overture, at least one Pueblo County commissioner isn’t taking it sitting down. And even Lamborn’s fellow Colorado Republican House member, Scott Tipton, whose neighboring 3rd Congressional District includes Pueblo, is expressing misgivings.
Pueblo County Commission Chairman Terry Hart said Lamborn has played no role in the years of negotiations between Colorado Springs and county officials over stormwater controls, adding: “He should stay the heck out of it.”
While Lamborn seems to think the agreement between the two cities moots the suit, Hart believes the lawsuit made it possible — and will cement the gain in place:
“The threat of that lawsuit was critically important in our reaching an intergovernmental agreement with Colorado Springs,” Hart said Tuesday. “We joined that lawsuit to protect our interests and right now, Colorado Springs is doing a good job of honoring its commitment. But the lawsuit would nail down the agreement to withstand the political winds that blow back and forth.”
Tipton appeared more circumspect about the foray by his GOP House colleague, but a statement from his office quoted by Roper leaves no doubt the congressman from Cortez isn’t on Lamborn’s side:
“While Congressman Tipton has been encouraged by the commitment demonstrated by Mayor (John) Suthers to solve this long-standing problem, the lawsuit was filed by both the EPA and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for a reason,” a spokesman said.
It’s anyone’s guess where it all will lead with a West Slope water watchdog like Tipton in on the standoff — and taking Pueblo’s side. Yet another illustration of how Colorado’s water wars can cut cross party lines.
Federal environmental regulators are seeking “input and wisdom” from Colorado as they begin the process of rewriting a Barack Obama-era water protection rule known as WOTUS, which the White House says it now wants aligned with a Supreme Court opinion on water rights from the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
As the White House continues its survey of dozens of national monument designations, a bipartisan group of federal lawmakers from Colorado and a state official have urged the Trump administration to protect the state’s lone site under review.
A House bill that would allow employers to compensate workers with paid time off instead of wages for overtime is fielding conflicting opinions from Colorado lawmakers and labor leaders.
On a party line vote earlier this month, the House passed the legislation, H.R. 1180, that would alter language in the Fair Labor Standards Act, allowing employees to opt for time off at a rate of time-and-a-half for every hour of overtime — the rate current law requires companies to pay workers for any work over 40 hours a week — instead of pay.
…And Horace Greeley himself, were he still with the living, no doubt would be on board. Gardner’s Washington office in fact sent us media types a press release today identifying those stakeholders (Greeley wasn’t included). All of which probably belongs in our “Cory Gardner” file’s not-surprising-but-still-noteworthy subfolder.
“Moving BLM’s headquarters West is a common sense solution that Coloradans from across the political spectrum support. … Ninety-nine percent of the nearly 250 million acres of land managed by BLM is West of the Mississippi River, and having the decision-makers present in the communities they impact will lead to better policy. Coloradans want more Colorado common sense from Washington and this proposal accomplishes that goal.”
Gardner is touting Colorado’s own Grand Junction as the potential new HQ, but under the legislation, the agency could move to any of the following states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, or Wyoming. Obviously, the fact that two Colorado lawmakers introduced the bill can’t hurt our state’s prospects.
The list of supporters includes the influential West Slope group Club 20, the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce and the Colorado Farm Bureau as well as the editorial boards of several of the state’s daily newspapers — and even a casual endorsement from Gov. John Hickenlooper, captured on video in March by the blog Western Wire.
Colorado will receive $7.8 million in federal grant money to help battle opioid abuse in the state, as part of a landmark medical research bill signed late last year.
The 21st Century Cures Act, signed into law late last year, boosted funding for medical research and accelerated the development and approval process of medical treatments. The act promised some $1 billion in federal funding to help battle the opioid abuse epidemic across the country.
A recent analysis by the Competitive Enterprise Institute showed that for every law Congress passed in 2016, the Obama administration issued 18 rules and regulations. With a total of 3,853 last year, the administration issued the most rules and regulations since 2005.
When done right, rules and regulations play an important role in keeping our communities safe and secure. But over the past several years, we’ve seen a breakdown in the balance of power between our three branches of government that has led to harmful over-regulation.
This is why we’ve worked in the House to set the stage for rolling back harmful over-regulation and restoring the balance of power between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. We recently passed two bills that will accomplish these goals: the Midnight Rules Relief Act (H.R. 21) and the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny, or REINS, Act (H.R. 26).