The State of Colorado knows how to manage water resources

EPA Rule Gov Let 100614_Page_1

This week I’m asking the Colorado State Government for help regarding the proposed EPA ruling which, in essence, would take control of national water resources away from the States and put control in the hands of federal government bureaucrats.  I’ve written numerous letters regarding this issue to my Congressional Representative and Senators.  I think this issue has potential ramifications that could completely destroy the yeoman’s work accomplished by the States over the past two centuries.

Even though the EPA has a comment period open until October 22nd, comments from individuals like me will never have any impact – the pressure has to come from those with more “importance” than just a citizen like me.

This letter went to the Governor of Colorado, the Colorado State Engineer (that has the responsibility to manage water in the state) and the Colorado Court Administrator (that manages the Colorado Water Courts.)  And copies went to my two Senators.


Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper

Colorado State Engineer Dick Wolfe

Colorado State Court Administrator Gerald Marrone

Reference:     Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recent rule announcement (79 Fed. Reg. 22188 (April 21, 2014))

EPA Rule Gov Let 100614_Page_2Gentlemen:

I am a Colorado citizen, stakeholder, rancher, irrigator, well permit holder and user of domestic water provided by one of Colorado’s many rural domestic water associations. I am a past President of the Board of Directors of a Colorado Mutual Ditch Company and have years of experience attempting to work water issues with federal agencies including the EPA, the Corps of Engineers, the US Forest Service and others. I am very concerned about eventual impact the recent announced EPA ruling (referenced above) will have on the management of Colorado Water Resources, Colorado’s Water Laws, Colorado’s relationships with surrounding states regarding water management and the overall attempt (again) of a federal agency to intrude well beyond the federal government Constitutional charter and into states’ historic rights of control.

If this “rule” is allowed to go into force (and thereby become dictated “law”) the ramifications could, if not initially then eventually, tear Colorado’s current water law and the State Engineer’s charter to manage water resources within Colorado apart – leaving both the stakeholders and the water users at the direct mercy of over-educated, under-experienced federal bureaucrats, spread over a multitude of federal agencies, that have little, if any, knowledge of source water management.

The US House of Representatives has acknowledged this potential risk by passing HR 5078 (Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act of 2014) that specifically addresses the subject rule by calling for the proposed rule’s withdrawal. However in today’s Congressional environment, partisan politics trump national reason and the US Senate will most likely never even bring the House resolution to the Senate Floor.

Therefore I implore you as the leaders of our State to directly request that both of our State Senators use their influence within the U.S. Senate to bring HR 5078 to the Senate floor for a vote. Even more importantly, use whatever influence our state government has with our surrounding state governments and within the federal government to stop this gross attempt of federal intrusion into the states’ long proven methods of properly and justly managing our nation’s water resources.


Tom Howe – Flying W Ranch – Hotchkiss, Colorado


CC:     Senator Mark Udall

Senator Michael Bennet

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