Oppose CO Senate Bill 17

Posted: Dec 17, 2017

 

Coloradoans should oppose Senate Bill 17, aimed at blocking a formal rulemaking to establish numeric nutrient criteria to protect our state’s treasured rivers, lakes and streams.  The rulemaking is needed to comply with EPA direction and to ensure that Colorado’s waters are protected for future generations in a manner consistent with our state’s values.

“Nutrients,” as used here, refers to the nitrogen and phosphorous found in all waterways but which is toxic at certain levels, posing risks to human health and causing massive fish kills.  There is a well documented link between urban growth and increased levels of these contaminates downstream, and with Colorado’s population forecasted to double in the next 50 years, the time to act is now.  

Local communities oppose Senate Bill 17 and support the rulemaking, as their water service providers are currently forced to bear (or pass on to taxpayers) the entire cost of cleaning water from upstream urban areas.  While there are inevitably some costs associated with new standards, the responsibility would be shared by the entire state, and a proposed 10-year phase in period would help soften their impact.

We depend on our waterways not only for drinking water and escape from the stifling city summers; they are important economic resources as well. Water-based recreation contributes millions of dollars annually to communities statewide.  We simply can’t afford not to act.

Colorado has a long history of opposition to federal interference with state management of water resources.  While EPA’s guidance is not technically a mandate, it behooves us to develop flexible, state-based standards to forestall federal action regarding nutrient control and protect our water now.  

 

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