Vote no on water grab |

Vote no on water grab

It was a bad idea then. It’s a worse idea now.

`A’ gets an `F’ as public policy.

Bad ideas don’t get better with time – they may actually get worse. This is particularly true of Referendum A on this November’s ballot. It was a bad idea a year ago when, as Colorado Senate Majority Leader, I helped kill an earlier version of this threat to western and southern Colorado water and our way of life. It’s an even worse idea now and needs to be defeated.

A similar proposal came before the General Assembly during the special legislative session in the summer of 2002. I made certain that House Bill 1022 was killed in committee, and my vote to kill it was one of the best I cast during that session.

But now it is round two, and the boondoggle is back. However, this version is even worse than the earlier one. As public policy, Referendum A gets an `F’ for failure.

The referendum would authorize the sale of up to $2 billion in bonds to build dams and reservoirs. But where will those dams be built? Where will the water come from to fill those dams? Who will benefit? Who will get hurt? The proponents of this measure won’t say.

Worse, the process for authorizing a project is left completely in the hands of the governor and the Colorado Water Conservation Board – a board appointed by the governor! They can decide on a project without having to have any public input and almost no oversight.

Trust us, they say. We’ll do the right thing, they say – but the right thing for whom? I don’t believe for a minute that it will be the right thing for southern and western Colorado.

I know, as certain as I know that the sun comes up in the east, that the water for these boondoggle projects will come from the Western Slope, the San Luis Valley and southern Colorado. And it will go for the benefit of those who want to build more golf courses and bluegrass lawns in the metro suburbs, at the expense of the local economies, interests and way of life of those of us who live and work in southern and western Colorado.

Trust us, they say. We’ll do the right thing, they say. Oh, really? When Western Slope and southern Colorado legislators attempted to amend the bill placing n See Letters on page A12

n continued from page A11

this question on the ballot, to provide for compensation to localities for the loss of their water and the negative economic impact of that loss, those that would have us trust them just said no.

Well, it’s time for all of us to “just say no” to this $2 billion water grab. The best vote I will cast this November, and the best vote you can cast, will be like the best vote I cast in the 2002 special session: No on Referendum `A.’

Bill Thiebaut

Former Colorado Senate Majority Leader


Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.

For tax deductible donations, click here.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User