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April 26, 2022 01:29 PM UTC

DougCo Water Grab Blows Up Fractious Commission

  • 3 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols
Douglas County Board of Commissioners George Teal, Lora Thomas, and Abe Laydon

Elliott Wenzler of Colorado Community Media reports that the always entertaining (unless you happen to live there, in which case it’s just frightening) all-GOP Douglas County Board of Commissioners is at each others’ throats once again–and this time, the intrigue concerns that most emotionally volatile of resources in the American West, water for fighting:

Douglas County Commissioner Lora Thomas has been removed from her position as leader of the board for the second time almost exactly one year after it happened initially…

[Commissioner Abe] Laydon asserted that Thomas had directed a lawyer working for the county to record and take notes on who met with Laydon during a meeting in the San Luis Valley regarding the Renewable Water Resources proposal.

RWR has asked the county for $10 million to begin working on a plan to transport about 22,000 acre-feet of water per year from southern Colorado’s San Luis Valley to Douglas County. Many in the valley and around the region have spoken out against the plan, including U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, Rep. Cleave Simpson, Gov. Jared Polis and U.S. Sens. John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet.

While Thomas is against the water plan and Commissioner George Teal is in support, Laydon has not yet announced how he will vote. He said he attended a meeting in the valley to privately hear from supporters of the plan. Laydon and Teal have voiced concern that these supporters don’t feel they can speak publicly because of fear of retribution.

The hotly controversial proposal to pipe groundwater from the San Luis Valley to exurban Douglas County is opposed by just about everyone except those who would directly benefit from the exported water in DougCo–on both sides of the aisle. If allowed to go forward, it could lead to the desertification of the San Luis Valley much like the Owens Valley of California was drained by Los Angeles in the 1920s and rendered basically uninhabitable. Proponents of the Orwellian-named “Renewable Water Resources” water grab are earnestly courting Republican AG candidate John Kellner, whose support if he wins could be crucial to allowing the scheme to proceed.

Lora Thomas, who is now running in the June 28th GOP primary for Douglas County Sheriff, is an outspoken opponent of the RWR project. Commissioner Abe Laydon, a shifty operator, is keeping his vote to support the RWR project close to the vest–but this latest and, let’s be honest, contrived conflict indicates to us that he’ll be a “yes” vote on funding to move the project forward and probably always was.

In that event, the DougCo water grab nobody outside DougCo wants will be an issue for John Kellner to deal with on the campaign trail. Our guess is that anywhere outside Douglas County, Kellner will want only to change the subject.

Comments

3 thoughts on “DougCo Water Grab Blows Up Fractious Commission

  1. Anyone know how much of the $50 million in PERA payments will be on DougCo?  Seems like they would want to figure that out before throwing money in a new direction.

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