Thursday, December 01, 2011

Rep. Tipton says Forest Service forced resort to relinquish water rights

Congressman Scott Tipton says the U.S. Forest Service forced Powderhorn Mountain Resort to surrender water rights so the ski area could open in two weeks. Tipton wrote Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell this week, asking the agency to honor a water agreement reached between Powderhorn, other ski areas and the George W. Bush administration. The Grand Junction Sentinel reported Wednesday ( that Tipton urged the agency to ensure Powderhorn retains its rights. He said current Forest Service policy could cost ski resorts financing for maintenance and development because water is so valuable. Powderhorn is scheduled to open Dec. 15. AP

In October, Tipton sent a letter to the Secretary Tom Vilsack urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to reconsider implementing a permit condition to require the transfer of privately held water rights to the federal government as a permit condition on National Forest System lands. Tipton expressed concern over the impact the requirement would have on water rights held by ski areas and ranchers in particular. That letter is here.  The most recent letter is here.

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