Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Forest Service begins public vetting of new ski area water rights rule
last month overturned the new Forest Service rule, arguing that the agency had ran afoul of procedural guidelines when it sculpted new 2011 and 2012 permitting regulations requiring ski area operators to transfer water rights to the federal government as a condition of the ski area permit. Judge William Martinez sided with the National Ski Areas Association, which had sued the Forest Service in January 2012 to stop the new permit water rules. The Forest Service this week announced it would begin a public process this spring — following federal procedural rules this time — gathering input from ski areas, ski area communities and others as it sculpts a regulation addressing water rights. The agency will work to develop rules that keep water connected to the land, not the permit-holder. "We would like to keep a situation where the water that is being used in the future - that is necessary and dependent for that ski area to operate - stays with that ski area for snowmaking and ski area operations," said Rocky Mountain Regional Forester Daniel Jirón. "With climate change and other thing we are seeing, being able to maintain water at the ski area is going to be really, really important."...more
No, what is "really, really important" to the Forest Service is to keep the water in government hands, not private hands.
The FS should follow state law, which is being revised because of this situation:
The process launched this week when the Colorado House agricultural committee heard testimony on a water rights bill. House Bill 1013 would prohibit a landowner from conditioning a special-use permit on the transfer of privately owned water rights. The bill was amended and a vote delayed until next week.