The South Platte River service area is critical to Greeley and Weld CountyBy Craig MastersNorthern Colorado Water headquarters was the venue for one of three town hall style meetings held Monday by United States Congressman Cory Gardner. The location at Northern Colorado Water was symbolic of what may well become a critical issue this coming year in much of rural Colorado; water for agriculture and industry. In his opening remarks, Congressman Gardner reviewed the current snowpack statistics, since snow on the ground in the winter is critical to water in the rivers during spring and summer growing seasons.The city of Greeley owns 6 reservoirs on the Cache le Pouder River and all are dependent somewhat on the Colorado River via tunnels and canals which move the water from the Western slope of the Rockies to the Platte River drainage basin. The 4th U.S. Congressional District, Gardner's district, is only one of the several U.S. congressional districts spanning several states dependent on the flow of Rocky Mountain snowmelt feeding into the Platte River system.In response to audience questions about their concerns over the storage of Colorado River water for Mexico being considered by the Obama administration, Gardner stated he supports strong state control over water usage within the state. But he emphasized that to minimize federal intervention, it is important to establish workable cooperative agreements with downstream states. He further assured the resident, who identified himself as a local rancher, that no agreement for storage beyond 2013 had yet been worked out with Mexico. ( The concerns were over a Dec. 2010 agreement to store 260,000 acre feet of Mexico's Colorado River water in Lake Mead until 2013. This was to allow Mexico time to repair earthquake damage to water delivery infastructure in northern Mexico.)While water is clearly a pressing and important issue, Congressman Gardner was also questioned about the "out of control" federal budget and its impact on medicare and social security. Many of those in attendance were clearly attentive to his answers to questions about these two key programs. Unfortunately, he explained, the cost of the interest alone on the current debt is now consuming approximately 40% of the federal government's revenues. Funds that should be set aside for social security and medicare are being used by other budget items; including the interest on the debt. This is only going to get worse, he explained, when additional programs of Obamacare become effective over the next few years.Congressman Gardner fielded a variety of questions at this town hall meeting Monday
The congressman noted that January 24, the scheduled date for the State of the Union address, will mark the 1000-day anniversary since the senate passed a federal budget. He explained that the current republican-led House of Representatives has sent several budget proposals to the democratic controlled Senate where each proposed budget has failed to receive approval. This is one of the main reasons, in Gardner’s opinion, for uncertainty about the future of programs such as social security and medicare.
Colorado jobs were also the subject of multiple questions. Gardner, who sits on the Energy and Commerce committee and its subcommittee on Energy and Power, was able to explain the benefits of the proposed Keystone Pipeline. He cited research which estimated the completion of the pipeline would generate thousands of permanent high-paying oil industry jobs in Colorado. These jobs are in addition to the measurable value of a secure oil supply for the U.S. from neighboring Canada instead of volatile overseas sources.
About the opposition to the Keystone Pipeline, Congressman Gardner asked the audience if we thought Canada would simply not develop their oil reserves if the U.S. decided not to complete the pipeline to the Port Arthur, Texas, terminals. The reaction was nearly unanimous: Canada would turn to China as the outlet for crude oil. This would almost certainly result in China becoming the world’s leading producer of refined oil. If that happens, the Yen, not the Dollar, could quickly become the world’s standard currency and the United States would lose its unique position of having the ability to simply print dollars to pay its debts without having to account to another country or world bank authority
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Posted by Craig Masters in General News category