2012 Colorado legislation: HB12-1278, South Platte Groundwater Study Augmentation, do-over is on its way to the House appropriations committee

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From The Greeley Tribune (Eric Brown) via Windsor Now!:

By a 9-4 vote, HB 1278 — sponsored by Rep. Randy Fischer, D-Fort Collins — received approval to again go before the House Appropriations Committee. The appropriations committee, after voting last week to send the bill back to the ag committee for a second look, will discuss the bill Friday, Fischer said.

Back in February, Fischer’s bill — which proposes a study of the high groundwater levels in the South Platte Basin that have flooded basements and destroyed crops in the LaSalle, Gilcrest and Sterling areas — received approval from the ag committee to be passed along to the appropriations committee. That marked the first time a bill expected to help with the groundwater problems received a favorable vote from state lawmakers.

However, last Friday, the appropriations committee agreed that enough changes had been made to the bill in the previous weeks that it required another look by the ag committee — much to the disappointment of Fischer and the farmers and residents affected by the problem. Fischer stressed that action needs to take place soon, since residents have been experiencing problems for years, and because there’s only so much more time before the legislative session ends.

Fischer had made changes to his bill in recent weeks out of fear that its original price tag — $3.8 million all together, with about $130,000 having to come out of the state’s General Fund — would prevent it from passing through the appropriations committee. With the changes Fischer has made, including taking out an entire section of the bill and scaling back the extent of the groundwater study, the bill’s price tag is now $2.47 million, with no dollars coming out of the General Fund.

More groundwater coverage here.

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