Transparency and the Colorado River Compact — John Fleck #ColoradoRiver

Members of the Colorado River Commission
Members of the Colorado River Commission

Click through to read John Fleck’s reflection on the minutes from the negotiations for the Colorado River Compact on InkStain. Here’s an excerpt:

The negotiation of the 1922 Colorado River Compact governing the allocation of water from the West’s great river, and the ratification process that followed, was a politically delicate process.

Precisely how delicate is made clear in a fascinating exchange of letters 10 years after between Colorado attorney Delph Carpenter (the compact’s primary architect) and Norcutt Ely, who at the time was executive assistant to Interior Secretary Ray Lyman Wilbur.

The Compact Commission’s 27 sessions were largely closed affairs, though detailed minutes were kept…

…they were stashed in a “small room” at the Commerce Department. Carpenter suggests several people who might know where they were, and that they be forwarded to the state representatives “before they become lost”.

Thankfully, they were not lost. The University of Colorado has published them in full.

I found the Carpenter-Ely letters in the Colorado State University digital collection.

More Colorado River Basin coverage here and here.

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