West Slope Water Rights
For a thousand years, rice farmers in Asia have shared water for the benefit of all. Water always flows from one farmer’s paddy to another. But in our Wild West for more than a hundred years, people have claimed water rights for themselves and too often enforced them with guns.
Colorado’s Front Range towns now prefer money, lawyers, and political power to secure our West Rim water rights. This water is then channeled across the Continental Divide to promote growth on the eastern slope. The Colorado Doctrine of 1860 Makes It Legal, But That Doesn’t Make It Environmentally Friendly
Today, Western Slope owners are selling their water rights to Front Range towns for eye-watering sums. The federal government could impose restrictions on the use of water from the Colorado River. The battles will follow. Other thirsty states might also want to buy water rights on the Western Slope.
Unfortunately, when water is artificially and permanently removed from a watershed, its vitality never recovers. Grasslands dry up, farms lie fallow, wildlife and people leave, and businesses die.
In the 1970s, Colorado Springs had to ration building permits due to a lack of natural gas. It has been temporarily forced to limit its expansion based on available resources. Other articles reported that water rights to underground aquifers were being bought (but that story suddenly died out). Colorado Springs alarmed, Springs Utilities sought to acquire enough water to support unconstrained future growth.
Much of this water is imported from the western slope. Other Front Range towns are doing the same.
It may be legal, but is it “right” to drain water from the western slope to actively promote Front Range development? Does this make environmental sense for either slope? Do we want to encourage a megalopolis stretching from Fort Collins to Pueblo, or should we spread growth across the state, as some other states and countries do?
If we want to preserve Colorado’s West Slope for everyone, we must prohibit the artificial export of water from its watersheds. We can devastate the West Slope in the next generation. Restoration will be nearly impossible.
The two administrations responsible
The op-ed piece by Oliver North and David Goetsch regarding the debacle of our departure from Afghanistan, which appeared in your publication on Thursday, certainly brought to light a very tragic moment in our history. Unfortunately, this piece omitted parts of that story that we need to remember:
1. On February 29, 2020, former President Donald Trump agreed that all of our forces would be out of Afghanistan by 05/01/2021. At that, the Taliban agreed and they basically stopped attacking our forces.
2. Trump has not developed any plan to implement this withdrawal, even though he has about 11 months left in his term to do so.
3. Trump didn’t really allow his successors’ transition team access to what was going on: no exit plan had been drawn up.
4. President Joe Biden took over and for the first time realized he only had over 3 months to come up with a comprehensive plan. On 04/14/2021, he got an extension from the Taliban until 08/31/21. He had over 7 months to do what Trump had failed to do in the remaining 11 months of his administration.
Clearly, the Biden plan was a mess, but things had changed under our collective feet since the elder Trump made his deal. No one expected the Afghan army to disappear and the Afghan government to be nothing more than a sham. There was no “democratic” Afghanistan without the United States and its allies having their boots on the ground. Why the Trump administration failed to realize this fact during its four-year tenure remains a mystery. Maybe Biden was aware of this during his eight years in the Obama administration? If blame is to be laid, both administrations contributed to this fiasco. The authors of this opinion piece should have discussed this fairly. But that’s politics, I guess.
Harvey A. Epstein
Loan repayment is unfair
Biden’s college loan repayment is a slap in the face for hard-working Americans. My husband and I are college graduates who have spent 20 years paying off our student loans, sometimes working more than one job to do so. Now we have to co-sign our kids’ student loans because the $5,000 in subsidized loans the feds are giving them is nowhere near enough to pay the $20,000 a year that even the cheapest colleges charge for it. to assist.
Biden’s loan repayment is supposed to benefit only a select few who will vote for him; rich children who have obtained a diploma which does not allow them to have a job and teachers who have obtained a diploma and who do not earn any money. It’s unfair to the remaining 95% of hardworking people in this country.