The Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011: Colorado Republican U.S. Representatives march in lockstep with their party (and a handful of Democrats) in an attempt to gut the Clean Water Act

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From the Colorado Independent (David O. Williams):

U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., and the rest of Colorado’s majority Republican congressional delegation are all wet for voting along with the GOP-controlled House to pass the Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act by a margin of 239-184 on Wednesday, according to the bill’s many outraged opponents.

“Rep. Gardner has once again made an extremist vote that increases profits for polluters at the expense of the public’s health and the environment” said Gary Wockner of Fort Collins-based Clean Water Action. “Rep. Gardner says he supports jobs, but he’s only voting to support corporate polluters’ profits.”

“It is time for the EPA to give Congress some straight answers about the consequences its regulations have on jobs and the economy, without knowing that information how can we judge whether a regulation is necessary or harmful?” Gardner said in a recent release…

All three Democratic members of Colorado’s congressional delegation voted against the bill, but Gardner joined fellow Colorado Republican House members Doug Lamborn, Mike Coffman and Scott Tipton in bucking the Obama administration, which earlier in the week promised a veto in the unlikely event the bill makes it out of the Senate.

More coverage from EarthJustice.org (Liz Judge). From the article:

The House passed this legislation 239-184, despite a vow from the White House promising a veto if the bill makes it through the Senate. This legislation is the most offensive in a fresh spate of clean water attacks waged by the majority of the 112th House. The bill undoes the basis of the Clean Water Act, the 40-year-old cornerstone of all drinkable, swimmable and fishable waters in this country. Without this landmark law, and the system it set up for federal oversight of waters across all states, we wouldn’t have the clean waters that we have today. HR 2018 removes federal oversight and leaves the fate of our waters, which flow between states and know no state boundaries, up to states.

More H.R. 2018 coverage here.

NIDIS Weekly Climate, Water and Drought Assessment Summary of the Upper Colorado River Basin

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Here are this week’s notes from the Colorado Climate Center.

Runoff news: Late snowmelt, high water and monsoon moisture are impacting demand for water toy rentals

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From Fox31.com (Shaul Turner):

Dangerous water levels have forced the closure of Boulder Creek to tubers, and for Boulder-based Whitewater Tube Company that means a lack of demand for tube and kayak rentals…

“Business drops about 80-percent during dangerous weather, but the extra rainfall means a prolonged season,” says Eric Bader with Boulder Outdoor Center. BOC partners with Whitewater Tube Company to plan rafting and tubing trips.

Colorado River Basin: Peter McBride (The Colorado River: Flowing Through Conflict) is interviewed by NPR’s Michelle Norris

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Yesterday as I was trying to navigate the streets south of Denver during our daily thunderstorm dousing I had a chance to listed to Michelle Norris’ interview with Peter McBride. They talked about the river, its current state, and attitudes about using the river’s available water while protecting some of its wildness and natural historical value. Here’s the link to the NPR story with the audio. Here’s the transcript Here’s an excerpt:

“This estuary [ed. the Colorado River estuary] used to be one of the largest desert estuaries in North America,” McBride says. “It ran to the sea for 6 million years, and the river basically stopped in the late ’90s. It used to be 3,000 square miles with lush forests and jaguars and deer. And having walked it … it’s nothing but a cracked, parched arid landscape.”

How did this happen? As McBride puts it, too many straws in the water: Near Mexico, the river basically produces the entire lettuce crop for the United States in the months of November and December, and all of the nation’s carrots in January and February. “So whether you love the river and fish it and float it, or you’ve never been to it and you live on the East Coast, you actually eat Colorado River water,” McBride continues.

When I got home I made sure to raise a glass of Denver Water water and toast the headwaters.

More Colorado River basin coverage here.

Fryingpan-Arkansas Project update: 500 cfs in the Fryingpan River through Basalt

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From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

Just a quick note: We reduced releases from Ruedi Dam to the Fryingpan River by 150 cfs today. Tomorrow, Friday, we will do the same. As a result, by Friday evening, there should be less than 500 cfs flowing through Basalt.

More Fryingpan-Arkansas Project coverage here.