From Center Square (Robert Davis) via The Kiowa County Press:
Colorado lawmakers returned to the Capitol to complete the 2021 legislative session on Tuesday after a month-long hiatus…
A bill seeks to transfer money from the state’s general fund to wildfire mitigation efforts. The legislation, which has bipartisan sponsorship, would allocate $6 million to a grant program for forest restoration and wildfire mitigation, $3 million to a wildfire preparedness fund, and $4 million to the Colorado Water Conservation Board Construction Fund.
Wildfire mitigation will be a key topic throughout the legislative session, as the state was hit with historic wildfires last year amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Senate Bill 21-034, introduced by Sen. Don Coram, R-Montrose, would create an enterprise fund with fees paid by consumers. The revenue generated by the enterprise would go towards grants or loans for water providers in the state.
“The fee for each individual metered connection in a drinking water supplier’s public water system is 25 cents per 1,000 gallons of drinking water delivered per month in excess of the first 4,000 gallons of drinking water delivered in that month to the individual metered connection,” according to the bill’s description.
From The Steamboat Pilot & Today (Dylan Anderson):
Another proposition that passed in November will reestablish wolves on the Western Slope, though they are already coming in naturally. Sen. Kerry Donovan, D-Vail, said Colorado Parks and Wildlife is studying how best to manage wolves, and legislators need to wait for them to come up with a proposal.
Donovan said the state needs to create a compensation program that is well-funded for ranchers who lose livestock to wolves but also need to reestablish wolves in a way that is good for the species.
While he does not have a bill on water right now, Roberts said there is a committee studying how rules could be strengthened to prevent out-of-state entities from making money off of water resources.
Donovan added that demand management of water is another really important issue, because the state has a legal obligation to share water. What could happen if they are not careful, she warned, is that water rights could become their own market where out-of-state interests start buying up these rights to sell them when water becomes more scarce.
“As well as our Republican colleagues, we are all very tightly aligned on this topic,” Donovan said. “One of the most closely aligned things when party absolutely disappears is when we talk about water.”