STRAIGHT TALK ON 2003’s REFERENDUM A 2003 Colorado Referred Ballot Measure A Ballot Question: SHALL THE STATE OF COLORADO DEBT BE INCREASED $2 BILLION, WITH A REPAYMENT COST OF $4 BILLION, MAXIMUM TOTAL STATE COST, BY AN AMENDMENT TO THE COLORADO REVISED STATUTES . . . Referendum A Facts: Ref A sinks at the polls, Nov. 4, 2003 A $2 Billion blank check for unnamed water projects Referendum A outlined a specific $4 billion plan in costs to Colorado taxpayers, but gave no specifics on how the money would have been spent. No water projects were identified. Referendum A established a bureaucratic process by which Colorado would have increased its debt and would have increased opportunity for corporations and development interests to speculate on their own private water deals with our money and our water. Referendum A removed the checks and balances from water project decision-making. The Western Slope defeated Ref. A 8713 in Mesa County; 88-12 in Montrose; 87-13 in Delta; 84-16 in Garfield; 93-7 in Gunnison; 77-23 in Moffat; 93-7 in San Juan; and 85-15 in La Plata. On the Front Range, Denver County trounced the measure 69-31 The measure also failed 57-43 in Arapahoe, 52-48 in Douglas, and62-38 in El Paso. TOTAL VOTE: 67% to 33% (source: Associated Press) In Colorado, water projects move forward when all parties are at the table. Referendum A proposed eliminating input from our cities and counties by having a board, appointed by the governor, make water project recommendations to the governor. Referendum A’s proposed structure would have put the Western Slope’s interests at the back of the bus while Front Range developers and Denver politicians would have gotten to drive. Diverse interests worked together to defeat the $2 Billion boondoggle – Referendum A Western Slope officials, homeowners, farmers, ranchers, and small businesses all saw a west slope water grab looming in the future while Colorado taxpayers saw themselves getting stuck paying the bill under Referendum A. Many of them banded together to defeat Referendum. Over 30 Boards of County Commissioners, 22 towns, a majority of the water conservancy districts and providers, many major newspapers, federal and state level elected officials from both parties, and a mix of business and interest groups including Club 20, the Delta Chamber, Trout Unlimited, Vail Realtors, the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, conservationists and river outfitters all came together to lead the opposition to Referendum A. On election night, Referendum A was defeated in every county in the state. Is Congressman Bob Beauprez talking straight with the Western Slope on his stand on water? What Congressman Bob Beauprez says about diverting Western Slope water: 2006 Election Season Beauprez’s campaign manager: “… Beauprez believes there are lots of things basins can do to solve their water issues, but he is not completely opposed to transmountain diversions”, Marshall said. Montrose Daily Press, “Beauprez water comments stir debate”, June 9, 2006. “Nobody has convinced me we need transmountain diversions,” said Beauprez, Montrose Daily Press, June 5, 2006. “There should be no need for inter-basin transfers of water (as is being discussed statewide now,” Beauprez Said. “The key is solving our own water challenges.” Durango Herald, “Beauprez stumps on his D.C. experience”, August 23, 2006. 2003 Election Season “Several supporters joined Owens at his (Yes on Referendum A) rally including U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez, Lt. Gov Jane Norton and Chuck Berry, president of the Colorado Association of Commerce and industry.” Rocky Mountain News, “2 Sides Beat Drum on Water; Referendum A Spurs Rallies For and Against as Election Day Nears “,Oct 14, 2003. “U.S. Representative Beauprez, an Arvada Republican who supported the Referendum, sent a letter to the U.S. House Resources Committee requesting a hearing on Colorado’s water needs.” Denver Post, “Referendum A Defeat could prove a victory for water storage”, Nov. 6, 2003. What Congressman Bob Beauprez says about protecting water quality from impacts of oil and gas development: On stormwater runoff: As a Member of Congress, Bob Beauprez voted to exempt certain oil and gas drilling activities from the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act (HR 6, April 21, 2005). [On January 9, 2006, the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission voted unanimously to maintain strong water quality standards in connection to stormwater runoff from oil and gas development, despite rollbacks at the federal level. This decision was based in large part on the desires of Western Slope officials to protect their water supplies.] On drilling in municipal watersheds: “’It’s important that we let science drive good policy and not some other agenda,’ Beauprez said. Beauprez said, based on his discussions with energy company executives, he was confident that the industry would develop technology advanced enough to allow energy development in and around watersheds without endangering water quality.” Grand Junction Sentinel, “Governor hopefuls debate drilling”, August 26, 2006. On oil shale development: “Earlier this year, Beauprez voted to approve an offshore drilling bill that contained provisions that could lead to more rapid oil shale development. The provisions decrease the royalties oil shale developers must pay to local and state governments.” Grand Junction Sentinel, “Governor hopefuls debate drilling”, August 26, 2006. [Many Western Slope officials have expressed concern about the water quality impacts of oil shale development and advocate a go-slow approach.] For more information, contact Monica Piergrossi 303-748-0942.
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