Lands and Water

Colorado’s rushing rivers and public lands are central to our economy and our way of life. As our population grows, demand is increasing on our natural resources. This year we worked to increase water conservation, protect water quality, and help fund our great outdoors.

Investing in Our Great Outdoors

As our public lands are being threatened by the Trump administration, here in Colorado, our legislators made strides to protect them.

This year the state legislature passed two bills to help fund our public lands. One bill renewed a massive funding stream for Colorado’s outdoors through Colorado’s lottery. This bill (SB 066) dedicates funding for parks, open spaces, and outdoor recreation in all 64 counties of Colorado. Another bill (SB 143) protected the future of our state lands by allowing Colorado Parks and Wildlife to prevent budget shortfalls and meet its goals by adjusting user fees to keep pace with inflation.

Coloradans care deeply about our outdoor spaces, and our legislators know it. That’s why they enacted two critical bills to help protect them for future generations.

Bills Tracked

HB 1069, Reclaimed Water Use For Toilet Flushing

To ensure Colorado has enough water now and into the future without continuing to drain our rivers, we need to increase the use of “reclaimed” water. Reclaimed water, or recycled water, is the process of treating wastewater so it can be reused for other purposes. HB 1069 allows reclaimed water to be used for toilet flushing. Stretching our water supply by using recycled water protects our rivers and streams and decreases pressure to divert more water from the West Slope.

Pro-Environment Vote: YES

Bill Sponsors: Representatives Jeni Arndt and Dan Thurlow, Senator Don Coram

House Vote: Passed 47-14

Senate Vote: Passed 32-3

Signed by the Governor: April 30, 2018

HB 1301, Protect Water Quality from Adverse Mining Impacts

In Colorado, more than 1,600 miles of our rivers are polluted from mining runoff. This bill would have ensured that in the future, mining companies are held financially responsible for water cleanup costs by requiring payment for cleanup in advance. It would have also eliminated the use of some of the most harmful water quality practices, protecting Colorado's rivers and our taxpayers.

Pro-Environment Vote: YES

Bill Sponsors: Representatives Barbara McLachlan and Dylan Roberts, Senators Stephen Fenberg and Kerry Donovan

House Vote: Passed 35-29

Senate Vote: Failed in State Affairs Committee

Amendment J.161, State Budget Bill Funding for Lead in Schools

This budget amendment would have provided additional funding for a public school lead testing grant program that was established in last year’s legislative session. Lead can leach into drinking water from old pipes and fixtures, and is especially damaging to children. Testing for lead is critical for safeguarding our children’s health and protecting our drinking water. Of note, it is tradition that members of the Joint Budget Committee — including Senators Moreno, Lambert, and Lundberg — do not vote in favor of budget amendments regardless of their content.

Pro-Environment Vote: YES

Bill Sponsors: Senators Stephen Fenberg, Nancy Todd, Andy Kerr, Rhonda Fields, Kerry Donovan, and Irene Aguilar

Senate Vote: Failed 15-20

SB 066, Extend Operation Of State Lottery Division

Colorado has one of the best funding programs in the West for protecting land, wildlife, and water. The proceeds from Colorado's lottery, which was approved by the voters, directly support outdoor recreation and land conservation, including a program called Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO). Since its inception, GOCO has returned more than $1.1 billion in lottery proceeds to the people of Colorado through projects in all 64 counties. This bill reauthorized the lottery until 2049, making sure these funds continue preserving and enhancing our state’s wild spaces while inspiring youth to explore and take care of our great outdoors.

Pro-Environment Vote: YES

Bill Sponsors: Senators Jerry Sonnenberg and Leroy Garcia, Representatives Jeni Arndt and Cole Wist

House Vote: Passed 48-16

Senate Vote: Passed 30-5

Signed by the Governor: April 30, 2018

Conservation Colorado

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