2011 Colorado legislation: HB 11-1150 would transfer wildlife fees to the Colorado Water Conservation Board construction fund

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From The Denver Post (Karl Licis):

[House Bill 11-1150, Concerning Additional Revenues for Water Storage Projects], sponsored by Rep. Jon Becker, with Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg as co-sponsor. The bill, assigned to the House Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources Committee, proposes to transfer $5 million per year for the next 10 years from the wildlife cash fund to the Colorado Water Conservation Board’s construction fund, to be used for water-storage projects. Such a project ostensibly would have to enhance, create or preserve wildlife habitat, and the CWCB would need to determine that doing so would not violate federal law…

Recent appropriations of the wildlife cash fund have been about $85 million a year. The potential annual loss of $5 million represents about a 6 percent decrease in funding for the DOW, but that could merely be the proverbial tip of the iceberg. The DOW also receives about $20 million a year in federal excise-tax returns through the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson acts. That money has specific guidelines for how it can be spent. The U.S Fish & Wildlife Service already has indicated to the legislature that HB 1150 would be an inappropriate expenditure of such money. Consequently, if the bill became law, the DOW stands to lose some $25 million a year, or $250 million over the 10-year life of the bill. Such an impact no doubt would be devastating to the DOW’s efforts in serving license-buying hunters and fishermen and all others who value the state’s wildlife resources.

With a loss of federal dollars likely, HB 1150 could be dead on arrival. Even so, with those “goose eggs” in the nest, it’s a reminder to be ever vigilant.

From email from Colorado Trout Unlimited:

Urgent! Please take action now! Call your State Senators and Representatives today at 1-800-811-7647 and urge them to stop the $260 million raid on your fish and wildlife license dollars!

Recently introduced by Reps. Becker, Sonnenberg, and Sen. Jahn, HB 1150 would gut funding for the Colorado Division of Wildlife and is this year’s most serious attack on Colorado’s fish and wildlife – and the state’s hunters and anglers.

HB 1150 will take your hunting and fishing license dollars away from the intended purpose – fish and wildlife management and conservation. INSTEAD, these fund will be transferred from your pocket and the Colorado Division of Wildlife to the Colorado Water Conservation Board to develop water storage projects.

If passed, HB 1150 will result in a $260 million net loss of funding for fish and wildlife conservation and management in Colorado over the next ten years – $50 million in funds directly transferred, and $210 million in lost federal matching grants.

Please call your State Representative today and urge them to vote NO on HB 1150. You can reach the Capitol by calling: 1-800-811-7647. If you don’t know who your State Representative is or how to reach them, you can look them up and find their contact information by clicking here and entering your zip code…

Interested in speaking out at the Capitol? HB 1150 is scheduled for hearing in the House Agriculture Committee on Monday, February 21 . This is an opportunity for the public to voice their concerns. Please contact Erica Stock estock@tu.org if you would like to attend.

More 2011 Colorado legislation coverage here.

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