A dangerous bill was introduced with just days left in Colorado’s legislative session that could accelerate permitting of water projects at the expense of environmental review. SB16-200 undermines the unprecedented civic engagement that was the hallmark of Colorado’s Water Plan and its celebrated collaborative water solutions. The bill is the product of outdated closed-door water politics-we cannot tolerate business as usual with water management decisions.
Now more than ever, the decisions made in water management have critical and lasting impacts to birds and other wildlife.
Coloradans have a responsibility to be good stewards of our water and river resources. Our new Colorado Water Plan lays the groundwork for many positive changes in water management, including an action item to streamline the water project permitting process.
But SB16-200 adds a new layer of bureaucracy by creating a new state level position to coordinate permitting requirements. This new state official would be tasked with weighing in on every proposed reservoir, dam rehabilitation, hydropower facility, wastewater treatment facility, drinking water treatment facility upgrade, and even stream restoration projects. This attempt at streamlining could actually impede and slow smaller projects by increasing bureaucracy. For larger projects, we are concerned the new state official would be able to reduce environmental protections and opportunities for public input.
We cannot accelerate permitting at the expense of environmental review. Under current law, environmental water needs are often considered toward the end of a very long process. All water decisions must include sufficient environmental review, remediation, mitigation, and public input.
Please email your state senator and representative today and urge them to vote NO on SB16-200.