House Bill 1150 would divert up to $50 million from hunting and fishing license funds to water development projects
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — So far, the State Legislature hasn’t tackled water in the current session, but one measure on the horizon has caught the attention of Colorado hunters and anglers.
House Bill 1150, sponsored by Fort Morgan Republican Jon Becker and set to be introduced in February, would funnel up to $5 million per year for 10 years from Colorado Division of Wildlife funds derived from hunting and fishing licenses and divert them to Colorado Water Conservation Board construction fund for the development of water projects that benefit fisheries and wildlife habitat.
Colorado Division of Wildlife spokesman Theo Stein said the agency is studying the bill but hasn’t taken any official position on the measure.
There is some concern that the measure could affect federal funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service — $20 million per year in funding from the excise taxes revenue from the sale of hunting and fishing goods, according to one comment left on this bow-hunting website.
“It could have a significant impact,” Stein said.
But for some conservation advocates, the bill is an unprecedented raid on the wildlife agency’s cash fund. Even if it’s sugar-coated with language about habitat improvement, it’s still a raid, said Becky Long, with the Colorado Environmental Coalition’s water caucus.
As someone who buys hunting and fishing licenses and works on water projects, this is the dumbest thing I’ve heard of,” Long said of the bill.
During it’s proposed 10-year lifespan, the measure could raise up to $50 million — not much when it comes to developing water projects, but a clear sign that state lawmakers once again will have to consider robbing Peter to pay Paul during a time of budget shortages.
Filed under: Summit County Colorado, Environment, rivers, Colorado Division of Wildlife, Summit County news, Colorado Tagged: | Summit County News, Colorado, Colorado Division of Wildlife, Colorado water, colorado Legislature, hunting, Colorado Water Conservation Board, fish, United States, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Colorado Department of Natural Resources, Colorado House Bill 11-1150, Colorado Rep. Jon Becker, Habitat