The Denver Post editorial board opposes H.R. 3189 (NSAA vs. USFS)

From The Denver Post Editorial Board: A battle over ski-area water rights that has been simmering in Colorado — and across the country — for several years has gotten the attention of the White House, and we’re glad to see it. President Obama on Wednesday issued a statement opposing the Water Rights Protection Act, which […]

H.R. 3189 and HB14-028 (NSAA vs. USFS): Ski area water rights bills in Denver and Washington DC are both in trouble #COleg

From The Durango Herald (Joe Hanel): A dispute between Colorado ski areas and the Forest Service has caught the attention of the White House, which on Thursday threatened to veto a water-rights bill that U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez will present on the House floor today. Meanwhile in Denver, state senators delayed a vote on […]

H.R. 3189 — Water Rights Protection Act: ‘…is a disaster for rivers and public lands’ — Matt Rice (NSAA vs USFS)

Here’s a guest column blasting the bill from Matt Rice writing for Steamboat Today: Last month, Representatives Scott Tipton, R-Colo., and Jared Polis, D-Colo., introduced H.R. 3189, the so called “Water Rights Protection Act.” While the bill was disguised as a minor “fix” for a narrow water rights conflict between Colorado’s ski industry and the […]

H.R. 3189: ‘…it was only a matter of time until they went after ranchers’ — Colorado Farm Bureau (NSAA vs. USFS)

From the Northern Colorado Business Report (Steve Lynn): The Colorado Farm Bureau said a U.S. Forest Service decision to no longer pursue forcing ski areas to surrender their water rights to renew their operating permits bodes well for farmers. The Forest Service’s decision represents a “huge win” for private property owners, including farmers with grazing […]

Tipton Water Rights Protection Act Clears House Committee (NSAA vs. USFS)

Here’s the release from US Representative Scott Tipton’s office: Today, the House Natural Resources Committee passed Rep. Scott Tipton’s (R-CO) Water Rights Protection Act (H.R.3189) with bipartisan support, clearing the effort to protect privately-held water rights from federal takings for a vote in the House of Representatives. Over the years, the Forest Service has engaged […]

H.R. 3189: Water Rights Protection Act (NSAA vs. USFS) — Green groups mobilize in opposition

From the Aspen Business Journal (Brent Gardner-Smith): “While House Resolution 1389’s stated intent (to help resolve a narrow conflict over water rights between the U.S. Forest Service and Colorado’s ski industry) may be legitimate, the bill is written very broadly and will have serious implications for water management across the country,” American Rivers wrote in […]

S. 1630: Water Rights Protection Act — Full text of the bill now available at (NSAA vs. USFS)

If you are like me, these football afternoons are best when you have the text of a water bill winding through Congress to read. Click here to read US Senator John Barrasso’s companion bill to US Representative Scott Tipton’s bill (H.R. 3189). More NSAA vs. USFS coverage here. More water law coverage here.

Alamosa: Scott Tipton talks about his bill designed to rope in the Forest Service (NSAA vs. USFS)

From the Valley Courier (Ruth Heide): In speaking of his legislative efforts, Tipton said he was especially proud of a paragraph-long bill to protect water rights in Colorado. The legislation, supported by Republicans and Democrats, would prevent the federal taking of private water rights protected by Colorado water law. Tipton explained that the action was […]

US Senator Barasso is taking up Scott Tipton’s bill designed to rope in the Forest Service (NSAA vs. USFS)

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Peter Roper): Rep. Scott Tipton’s legislation to restrict the federal government’s ability to acquire private water rights when leasing federal land has gained a Senate sponsor. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyoming, is taking up the measure in the Senate, Tipton’s office said Friday. Tipton, the Republican who represents Pueblo and the 3rd […]

H.R. 3189: Water Rights Protection Act — Garfield County adopts resolution in support (NSAA vs. USFS)

From the Glenwood Springs Post Independent (John Stroud): The bill, if passed, would prohibit the U.S. Forest Service and BLM from conditioning permits on the transfer or relinquishment of privately held water rights, or requiring water users to apply for a water right in the name of the U.S. government, instead of the purchaser, as […]

H.R. 3189: Water Rights Protection Act (Reps. Tipton and Polis, NSAA vs. USFS)

Here’s an update for H.R. 3189 from Chris Woodka writing for The Pueblo Chieftain. The bill is a result of new permitting requirements currently being litigated in a lawsuit between the NSAA and USFS: A bill to protect ski area water rights from federal water claims is advancing in Congress. The bill, HR3189, is sponsored […]


From the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Gary Harmon): Congress hasn’t delegated authority to the Forest Service to seize private water rights, a Boulder water attorney told a congressional subcommittee Thursday. Glenn Porzak, who represents the National Ski Areas Association and Colorado water agencies, said a Forest Service water-rights policy cast a shadow on the water […]

NSAA vs. USFS: Reps Polis and Tipton are pushing legislation in opposition to the USFS’s ‘taking’ of water rights

From The Watch (Gus Jarvis): Tipton’s bill, which was introduced in Congress on Sept. 26 and has the support of representatives Jared Polis (D-Colo.), Rob Bishop (R-Utah) and Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) as co-sponsors, comes as the U.S. Forest Service works to update a clause on its ski area special permits that would tie water rights […]

NSAA vs. USFS: Reps Polis and Tipton are pushing legislation in opposition to the USFS’s ‘taking’ of water rights

From the Vail Daily (Randy Wyrick): Scott Tipton and Jared Polis are battling a U.S. Forest Service policy that would force ski areas and other stakeholders to turn over the private water rights that ski areas need to operate. The Forest Service is requiring it before they’ll renew the permits that ski areas need to […]

NSAA vs. USFS: ‘[S]tate water laws currently protect the use of those developed water rights adequately’ — Bonnie Peterson

From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Gary Harmon): A measure that would prohibit the U.S. Forest Service from requiring ski areas to surrender water rights for operating permits by U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., garnered support from U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, a Boulder Democrat. Tipton, whose district includes most of the Western Slope and several […]

NSAA vs. USFS: US Rep. Scott Tipton hopes to thwart any new federal water grabs by codifying western water law

From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Gary Harmon): Legislation recognizing the water laws of Colorado and other western states could discourage federal efforts to claim water, said U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo. Tipton will introduce legislation aimed at codifying western water law to deter federal pre-emption of water rights, he said. “The West is under […]

NSAA v. USFS: ‘In the West, state water law and the rights it protects are sacred to westerners’ — Scott Tipton

Here’s the release from US Representative Scott Tipton’s office: Rep. Scott Tipton (CO-3) spearheaded a hearing in the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power, [April 25, 2013], to draw attention to recent federal attempts to circumvent long-established state water law in the Western United States in order to hijack privately held water rights. […]

The NSAA offers a fresh start in negotiations with the USFS over water rights ownership

From the Summit County Citizens Voice (Bob Berwyn): “Our new approach assumes that all previous water clauses are no longer in effect, null and void, and unenforceable. It would result in a consistent water policy across the board going forward,” said NSAA policy director Geraldine Link. The ski industry comments came as the Forest Service […]

NSAA vs. USFS: ‘There is a fundamental difference of opinion that will be hard to overcome’ — Jim Pena

From The Denver Post (Jason Blevins): The Forest Service on this week launched the first of several public meetings and forums as it outlines a contentious push to secure water rights used by ski areas on public land. “There is a fundamental difference of opinion that will be hard to overcome,” said Jim Pena, the […]

USFS to hold a series of public meetings after NSAA lawsuit victory last December

From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Dennis Webb): The U.S. Forest Service is turning to focus groups to help it deal with a water-rights directive that landed the agency a slapdown in federal court. Forest Service officials are to conduct focus-group discussions Tuesday about the clause, which they hope to publish in August and then […]

Denver: USFS to hold a series of public meetings after NSAA lawsuit victory last December

Forest Service holds public meetings on ski area water rights — Bob Berwyn (@bberwyn) April 14, 2013 From the Summit County Citizens Voice (Bob Berwyn): Now, the agency will hold a series of public meetings, starting April 16 in Denver, to take input from the public and key stakeholders. Additional meetings are set for […]

HJR13-1004 supports the NSAA’s position regarding water rights associated with ski areas #COleg

From the Craig Daily Press: A Sen. Randy Baumgardner-sponsored water rights measure unanimously passed out of the Colorado Senate Agriculture, Livestock & Natural Resources Committee on Thursday. House Joint Resolution 13-1004 calls on the U.S. Forest Service to rescind a 2012 directive that stipulates water rights revert to the federal government upon termination of a […]

NSAA wins their USFS permit requirements lawsuit — no ruling on water rights transfer requirements

From The Denver Post (Jason Blevins): Judge William Martinez ruled that the Forest Service’s revision of 2011 and 2012 permit regulations governing water rights violated federal procedural rules, failed to evaluate economic impact and violated ski area rights. Martinez sided with the National Ski Areas Association, which was suing the Forest Service over the new […]

The Colorado River District, et al., file brief in support of the NSAA lawsuit over USFS permit regulations

From the Summit County Citizens Voice (Bob Berwyn): The Colorado River Water Conservation District, the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District, the Ute Water Conservancy District, the Eagle Park Reservoir Company and the Clinton Ditch and Reservoir Company have joined in the lawsuit with an amicus brief that was accepted by the U.S. District Court […]

Who gave up what ground in the feud about ski areas and water rights? — The Mountain Town News

From The Mountain Town News (Allen Best): In late December, the U.S. Forest Service announced a compromise with the ski industry in their feud over water rights. Both sides gave ground, but just as interesting was who didn’t get deeply involved. The environmental community mostly stayed on the sidelines, unwilling to hurl spears on behalf […]

Ski areas win water fight with feds — The Aspen Times

From The Aspen Times (Randy Wyrick): The latest potential federal water grab may have dried up died Wednesday morning when the Forest Service threw in the towel… The Forest Service insisted that water rights established on national forest land should be tied to the land, and that the federal government should own those water rights. […]

#ActOnClimate: A more unified ski industry alters tone, raises its climate change voice — The Mountain Town News

From The Mountain Town News (Allen Best): In September, as world leaders began preparing for the this week’s climate change negotiations in Paris, the ski industry sent a letter of stern words to President Barack Obama. But it also mentioned a silver lining. “Failure to act now on climate is unacceptable, and will result in […]

Latest USFS permit does not compel ski areas to convey water rights to the US government

From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Gary Harmon): A U.S. Forest Service rule aimed at assuring that ski areas don’t sell off their water rights was welcomed by Colorado’s two senators and panned by the office for the representative whose district includes several resorts. The Forest Service on Friday is to unveil a rule to […]

‘If you want to make sure the water stays there for that particular use, you can buy it’ — Greg Brophy to the USFS

The kerfuffle over the the US Forest Service’s permit clause for ski areas is in the news again. US Representative Scott Tipton has introduced legislation that would prohibit the USFS’s actions. Here’s the release from Congressman Tipton’s office: Today, Reps. Scott Tipton (R-CO) and Mark Amodei (R-NV) introduced with bipartisan support the Water Rights Protection […]

House Joint Resolution 13-1044 clears House Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources Committee

From the Sterling Journal-Advocate (Marianne Goodland): The committee unanimously approved House Joint Resolution 13-1004, which encourages the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service to withdraw a 2012 directive that requires ski areas to turn over their water rights, without compensation, for federal lands leased from the Forest Service. HJR 1004 points out that federal law […]

‘Why would a ski area sell off water rights?’ — U.S. District Judge William Martinez

Oral arguments in the lawsuit brought by the National Ski Areas Association against new permit requirements from the U.S. Forest Service were heard on Thursday. Here’s a report from Jason Blevins writing for The Denver Post. From the article: On Thursday, U.S. District Judge William Martinez entertained oral arguments from both sides in a case […]

Snowpack news: Statewide snowpack is approximately 73% of average, South Platte — 81%, Rio Grande — 83%

Click on the thumbnail graphic for yesterday’s statewide snowpack map from the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Click here to zero in on your basin of interest. Meanwhile here’s a summary of snowmaking efforts around the west from The Durango Telegraph: With warm temperatures and scarce snow, winter has been long for snowmaking crews at most […]

National Ski Areas Association promises lawsuit over USFS rule intended to keep water rights with the land on ski hills

From ESPN (Jason Blevins): After intense lobbying — which included stern letters from a host of congressman and senators — last week the Forest Service rebuffed the calls for a moratorium and issued the new rule as an 18-month moratorium. The resort industry, led by the 121-resort National Ski Areas Association, answered with a promise […]