Rep. Tipton talks local concerns in Snowmass meeting | AspenTimes.com

Rep. Tipton talks local concerns in Snowmass meeting

Jill Beathard
Snowmass Sun

Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, speaks at a joint meeting of the Aspen and Snowmass Village Rotary Clubs at the Viceroy Snowmass on Dec. 6.

Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, addressed local concerns about energy, water rights and immigration reform in a speech and question-and-answer period at the Viceroy in Snowmass Village on Dec. 6.

Speaking at a joint meeting of the Aspen and Snowmass Village Rotary clubs, Tipton opened his presentation by talking about several legislative pieces he is working on. The first of those was the Planning for American Energy Act of 2013, which the House of Representatives just passed.

"Everyone in this room is involved in business," Tipton said. "One of the key components of every business is obviously our ability … to have affordable energy."

The bill specifically lists wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, oil, gas, oil shale and minerals as resources to be developed without eliminating any environmental requirements, Tipton said.

"If we can develop that resource responsibly in the United States and be able to create American jobs on American soil with American energy and to create our own energy security in this country, I think that's a sensible policy," Tipton said.

Tipton, who represents the 3rd Congressional District of Colorado, the eighth largest in the U.S. geographically, also is sponsoring the Water Rights Protection Act.

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"What we've seen over the last few years is that the Forest Service and the (Bureau of Land Management), … they're going to be requiring Aspen Skiing Co., Vail skiing company, Powderhorn over outside of Grand Junction, to sign over their water rights to the federal government with no compensation as a conditional use of permit," Tipton said.

That rule also will affect the water rights held by farmers and ranchers, Tipton said. The bill he is sponsoring seeks to require that the federal government "get in line just like the rest of us," he said.

When Tipton opened the room up for questions, a member of the Aspen Chamber Resort Association asked the congressman for his position on immigration reform. Just a day before Tipton's presentation, area business leaders and local politicians spoke out, asking the congressman to support an immigration bill that has been passed by the Senate.

Tipton is not on the House committee working on that legislation, but he said he is taking "our Colorado ideas, our Colorado concerns" to its chairman, including a plan drafted by Warren Klug, chairman of the ACRA board of directors.

"We need to have a guest-worker policy," Tipton said.

Tipton also visited with the Pitkin County commissioners on Dec. 6.

jbeathard@snowmasssun.com

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