Navigating the Future of the Colorado River conference recap: Pat Mulroy — ‘We do not want this resolved in the halls of Congress’

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From the High Country News blog The Range (Heather Hansen):

In their keynote talks, both Michael Connor, Commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and Pat Mulroy, General Manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority stressed the importance of having people who rely on the Colorado work together to ensure our mutual survival and prosperity. “The solutions are among the people in this room,” said Mulroy.

Mulroy added that the decisions about how the river should be allocated and managed should come from various local stakeholders. “It’s imperative to work from the ground up,” she said. Without agreement among the seven basin states, Mulroy warned of possible federal intervention. “We do not want this resolved in the halls of Congress,” she said.

In that vein, Connor pointed to H.R. 1837, a radical bill pending in Congress, involving California’s San Joaquin River. The bill would turn state water rights upside down by eliminating a century-old requirement that, when possible, the federal government should defer to state water law. The bill also threatens hard-one Endangered Species Act protections, established restoration settlements and collaborative processes. “Trampling on states’ sovereignty is not good public policy,” said Connor.

More Colorado River basin coverage here.

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