Chorus of voices opposes ski industry’s bill
With a vote tomorrow in the House, the chorus opposing HR 3189, the so-called “Water Rights Protection Act” is louder than ever.
More than 31,000 citizens have taken action against this bill that is poorly written, overly broad, and would have terrible impacts for rivers, fish and wildlife, and recreation. More than 80 local, state and national environmental, recreation, and sportsmen’s groups and businesses including the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, League of Conservation Voters, American Whitewater, Appalachian Mountain Club, Hydropower Reform Coalition, and OARS have come out against H.R. 3189.
The bill, which is being pushed by the National Ski Areas Association, Aspen’s SkiCo, as well as the Farm Bureau, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Colorado Petroleum Association, and the Colorado Oil and Gas Association would have sweeping impacts on rivers in the West and nationwide — preventing federal agencies from doing their job to safeguard rivers, fish and wildlife.
H.R. 3189 essentially allows private water users dry up rivers with impunity and would impact a wide variety of river restoration efforts nationwide. The bill could stop the Fish and Wildlife Service from requiring flows that help salmon find fish ladders so that they can safely pass over dams. It could prohibit the Forest Service from requiring water diverters, like hydrofrackers, to leave some water in streams on National Forests to keep native cutthroat trout alive. It would potentially destroy broadly supported multi-year and multi-million dollar settlement agreements — such as the ones on the Klamath and San Joaquin rivers — to restore salmon and steelhead fisheries at hydropower facilities, and would even set back efforts to restore the Chesapeake Bay.
Are ski resorts such as Massanutten, Wisp, Killington, Loon Mountain, Sugarloaf, Kirkwood, and Big Sky – all members of the NSAA – going to sit on the sidelines as the NSAA promotes this bill that would dry up rivers and give the whole ski industry a black eye?