Historical? Hysterical would be more like it | SummitDaily.com

Historical? Hysterical would be more like it

The water-desperate are calling passage of a $2 billion bonding question for the November ballot historic. Hysterical would be more like it.

The so-named Dyer-Entz bill, SB 236, just needs Front Range Gov. Bill Owens’ signature to become final.

Here is what an ebullient state Sen. Jim Dyer, of water-starved but fast-growing Arapahoe County has to say about his bill.

“The current drought has taught everybody in Colorado a lesson about the importance and need for water storage and increased water capacity. We can see the physical and economic damage that our lack of infrastructure has created, and this bill moves to ease the threat of future droughts that will inevitably hit Colorado.”

Dyer and his allies want to continue the status quo of grow now, find water later. He says nothing about the folly of trying to recreate an East Coast landscape on a High Plains desert.

We remind readers that if voters approve the $2 billion bonding ability, the Front Range will be looking to spend it on Western Slope water.

As Rep. Carl Miller of Leadville notes, there is noting specific in the bill about how the money would be spent. He calls it a blank check. Miller, a Democrat, represents Summit County. He fought the good fight against almost-guaranteed funding for the next water-grab.

We would find much more comfort in the measure if it were specific, as in mandating some of the money be spent on water recycling, both for irrigation and potable purposes.

Miller also faults the bill for giving away legislative oversight on how money is spent. The Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority would be able to approve up to $500 million in borrowing without review. The cap is now $100 million.

Miller worries that the state would be on the hook if a borrowing entity goes broke, even though language appears to say not.

Miller points out that the development authority has not had any takers for its $100 million bonding ability, and it never turns anybody down. So, he asks, why is the new measure needed?

Good question, indeed. The answer is the Front Range wants more Western Slope water, not to change its wasteful water use that made the drought so stressful in the first place.

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