DENVER- According to Colorado law, all water in the state is considered tributary water (i.e. flowing into one another) unless proven otherwise.
This law was further confirmed in the recent ruling of Vance vs. Wolfe.
The problem with this law is that it conflicts with Colorado’s oil and gas company’s desires to drill without first obtaining well drilling permits- a lengthy and expensive process.
The solution for them is to get around the spirit of the law.
There is currently an effort to pass new legislation whereby the State Water Engineer, Dick Wolfe, would have the power to declare some water non-tributary, and therefor not requiring a permit.
Wolfe called for a bipartisan, ad hoc committee to come together and look into whether scientific data might allow for a “streamlining” of the process of determining water status.
At the beginning of the third meeting, before the subcommittees had begun to examine data, an oil and gas expert suggested the O&G industry had collected enough usable data, and just that should be used. The State Water Engineer agreed, and no more meetings are scheduled.
Those who are not in the oil and gas industry were shocked and outraged, and are pressing Wolfe hard to continue to hold more meetings and use independent data.