Sometimes the best way to preserve and protect rivers, streams and trout is by working at the Colorado General Assembly.
A single piece of legislation – or even a bad amendment – can undo years of on-the-ground conservation work. Colorado TU’s Jen Boulton works full-time during legislative sessions as an advocate for trout and as an educational resource for lawmakers, many of whom benefit from Jen’s comprehensive knowledge of water law, stream biology and environmental regulations.
Summary of the 2012 Legislative Session
by Jen Boulton
The 2012 Colorado legislative session wrapped up at 11:58 on Wednesday, May 9. Colorado Trout Unlimited had ample reason to celebrate; it was an amazingly good session for us. The primary theme of the session was defense, as several members of the legislature seemed to feel that rolling back or eliminating regulations designed to protect air and water was necessary.
There were eleven separate bills aimed at reducing or eliminating environmental protections. Some simply precluded regulation of air or water quality, others shortened the time for review or attempted to politicize the regulatory process. Still others attempted to limit the factors that could be reviewed, or required review based on anticipated future costs of compliance. Despite feelings of trepidation at several points during the session, CTU successfully stopped or mooted every one of the eleven anti regulatory bills. We also stopped two attacks on lottery funding, which directly and indirectly funds the health of our waterways.
On the proactive side, CTU had a few successes as well. We passed a resolution renaming a portion of the Fraser River, which will allow us to raise awareness of the damage the River continues to suffer as a result of diversions to the Front Range.CTU was instrumental in ensuring that the makeup of the newly merged Parks and Wildlife Commission was nominally balanced. We also helped pass a continuation of funding for nongame species.
While the 2012 session produced triumphant results, the challenges of 2013 are just around the corner. Over one third of the legislators will be brand new, and there are several tough fights looming. Among them are reauthorization of the Habitat Stamp, and continuing to defend our waterways and Public lands for the enjoyment of future generations.
Colorado TU Legislative Reports
You can play a crucial role in our efforts to communicate with lawmakers by joining our e-mail activist network. From time to time we’ll send you an email asking you to call or write to your legislator(s) in support – or opposition – to legislation that relates to our mission.
It’s true: Lawmakers listen to their constituents!