Tuesday, June 2, 2009



Gov. Bill Ritter today signed five bills to help protect and conserve Colorado's water and land.


"Colorado's natural resources – our water, land and wildlife – are a key part what make's this state so special," Gov. Ritter said. "It is a great privilege and a great responsibility to manage these resources for future generations. Conservation also is about more than just protecting our natural resources; it's also about protecting economic resources, including the $3 billion and 34,000 jobs supported by hunting, fishing and wildlife activities in Colorado each year."


The bills signed today:


Senate Bill 106, sponsored by Sen. Jim Isgar and Rep. Ellen Roberts, which removes the expiration date for the Water Supply Reserve Account Fund and allows the Colorado Water Conservation Board to allocate funds, either through grants or loans, for water projects around the state.


House Bill 1129, sponsored by Rep. Marsha Looper and Sens. Chris Romer and Ted Harvey, which establishes a pilot program for the collection of precipitation from rooftops for non-potable uses.


"Water rights have always been important to those of us in Colorado," Sen. Romer  said. "To allow people to be able to collect and use the rainwater that falls on their roofs just makes sense."


House Bill 1303, sponsored by Rep. Kathleen Curry and Sen. Isgar, which will allow the state to continue developing its oil-and-gas resources while also allowing the state to manage senior water rights.


"I was pleased to bring this bill at the request of the coal bed methane gas producers," Rep. Curry said. "The bill strikes an important balance, streamlining Colorado's regulatory requirements for oil and gas operators while protecting our existing water users."


Senate Bill 158, sponsored by Sen. Isgar and Rep. Randy Baumgardner, calls for an examination of how the state can continue to conserve large tracts of private acreage even as federal conservation programs are being phased out.


Senate Bill 235, sponsored by Sens. Gibbs and Isgar and Rep. Mike Merrifield, extends the Colorado Wildlife Habitat Stamp program from 2011 to 2013 and doubles the annual revenue to $7 million.


"By preserving wildlife and wildlife habitat, this bill has something good to offer all Coloradans," Rep. Merrifield said. "It's good for hunters and anglers, campers and hikers – and for all of us who wish to preserve what makes Colorado special."


Friday is the final day for Gov. Ritter to take action on bills from the 2009 legislative session. Click here or visit www.colorado.gov/governor for a complete list of 2009 bills signed into law.