The Yellow Jacket Water Conservancy District’s goal: Protect water in the White River Basin for agriculture, communities, recreation, wildlife, industry, etc., within the district. The board is sincere and I believe this is their intent, but when I read:
“The Yellow Jacket Water Conservancy District continues to acquire, preserve and defend a large source of water in Northwest Colorado for development of an oil shale industry. The Yellow Jacket Board members and attorney attend state and regional meetings regarding the intrinsic need for water in the development of the oil shale product. The challenge is to go as far as possible to provide water to enable one thousand billion barrels of oil from the Green River formation to be developed as a major fuel source for America.” (Application for Finding of Due Diligence, District Court Water Division NO. 6, Sept. 30, 2009)
When I see YJWCD spending a quarter million taxpayers’ dollars planning: 100,000 acre feet dedicated to oil shale, 10,000 acre feet for all other uses, 110,000 total acre feet of storage, 90 percent for oil shale. (Public review of a draft of Phase 1 of the YJWCD Study, as of 10/20/2010 incomplete.) Dave Merritt, CRWCD Board member and spokesperson for Applegate Consulting, reported to the September 2011 YJWCD board meeting, 200,000 acre-feet of water storage would actually be required by oil shale.
Dillon Reservoir’s water volume is 250,000 acre feet.
There is a disconnect somewhere!
Those opposed have offered to complete agreements that were negotiated before the judge canceled YJWCD’s water rights. The agreement would allow Yellow Jacket to obtain new water rights for storage projects and include reasonable protections for the White River Valley and landowners. The agreement was acceptable before the judge’s ruling – why not now? Why doesn’t the district get on with their job of figuring out how to protect all of the water for citizens of the district?
Since making the offer, plaintiffs have had no response. Instead the district has chosen to spend more taxpayer dollars: asking the Colorado River District for additional tax dollars for legal fees and voted to appeal the ruling of a respected Water Court judge. A ruling the judge has considered on two previous occasions.
Why not settle and move forward? Instead the Yellow Jacket Water Conservancy District voted to appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court. The appeal will be expensive and paid for by taxpayers.
Look who is developing oil shale – Exxon, Shell, etc. With their billions of dollars in profits, and with 90 percent of the planned storage dedicated to oil shale, why are we spending taxpayer dollars?