Tuesday Open Thread

“Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.”

–Thomas Paine

23 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. ParkHill says:

    Colorado River Use Agreement – California Lone Holdout. From the Colorado Sun

    Another article on the important water issues. Journalists are slowly catching on to the word games and legal issues.

    Let’s decode the marketing fluff coming from California:

    Tina Shields, water manager for California’s Imperial Irrigation District — the single-largest user of Colorado River water — declined to comment Monday on the basin-wide discussions. But she said any multi-state agreement must be legally defensible.

    “Frankly, that’s what the priority system was set up for … to make long-term planning decisions,” Shields said. “We have done so in California and looking to solve a larger Colorado River drought by pointing at those with senior water rights isn’t fair.”

    She uses the phrase “legally defensible” and says it would be unfair to “point at those with senior water rights”. What she means is “We have senior water rights and we’re keeping them.

    Senior water rights means that any cuts need to come first from non-senior rights holders. If I understand it, that is how it was set up by the original water compact and is supported by over a century of legal history. 85% of the water (lower basin in particular?) goes to agriculture, and agriculture in California has a lot of senior water rights as well as heavy-hitting lobbyists and lawyers.

    So the California position is for junior rights holders to go pound sand.

    What the river basin truly needs is a 25%, 33% or 50% decrease in usage. My non-legal opinion is that this should be “fairly” applied across the board, and that the original compact was fucked up (to use the relevant political term). Indian tribes and Mexico are not even getting their fair share to begin with. Plus, the rights of the river ecosystem itself was left out of the negotiation.

    What nobody wants to admit is that we need to overturn a Century of water law.


    • DavidThi808 says:

      Yes we do need that decrease. And since it's not politically tenable to tell Phoenix, Las Vegas, & Los Angeles they need to have half their residents move East of the Mississippi, it means that agriculture is what's going to see a giant reduction in their heavily subsidized water.

      And that's why you'll see so many fighting to keep their shares. Because the alternative is they go out of business.

      • NOV GOP meltdown says:

        Alfalfa crops guzzle up an insane amount of water from the Colorado River basin, and a lot of it is just exported anyway. About 80% of the water use in the basin is for agriculture, and alfalfa is the largest chunk out of that by far. It might be a good idea to incentivize alfalfa growers to grow other crops.

    • Conserv. Head Banger says:

      "Use it or lose it" needs to be replaced by something like "conserve it or you don't deserve it."

    • EPCisgreat says:

      Six states: "Here's our reasonable joint proposal for how to deal with this situation."

      California: "Tough, sue me."

    • There is no way to get to a functional solution without some major concessions from those senior rights holders. If they don't give way then the entirety of water law is likely to crumble under their iron grip.

    • Gilpin Guy says:

      One of the entities with the most senior water rights to the Colorado is Denver Water.  Their expansion of Gross Reservoir in Boulder County is one of those WTF headscratchers.  They are going to raise the dam by 110 feet and pump more water from Grand County through the Moffat Tunnel via a huge water pipe next to the railroad line to help fuel expansion of the northern suburbs.  It will be the 2nd biggest water storage facility that they own.  It’s been in the works for over 18 years and Denver Water is going to spend a over a hundred million to develop it.  Diverting water from the Western Slope to increase the tract homes in Thornton doesn’t seem all that thoughtful for future water use.

      • It isn't, but Upper Basin states are under-utilizing their current share and I'm guessing no-one is talking about such things here.

        • Gilpin Guy says:

          Wait until those 5,000+ logging trucks start rolling down highway 119.  A half a million trees hauled out 20-50 at a time.   And then there is the mile long Unita Basin trains rolling through the Moffat Tunnel 10 times a day carrying crude.  Things around Gilpin County are going to be going downhill sooner than we think.  Time to get involved with the local Gilpin Dems again.

    • Early Worm says:

      This water rights stuff is complicated. Can someone get Scott McInnis to explain it to us?

      • Conserv. Head Banger says:

        “water rights stuff is complicated…..” I’d never take a bet against that statement.

        Someone commented about California growing water intensive crops like alfalfa, much of which is exported. Colorado Ag has the same issues.

        I’ve lived here for almost 42 years, and have long-deceased cousins who were here from the late 19th century. I still marvel at how many “wet country” crops get grown in Colorado, like corn, soybeans, sugar beets, and melons.

  2. DavidThi808 says:

    Thought for the day – the problem is not all the Republican politicians who praise Trump in public while cursing him in private. The problem is not Trump himself.

    The problem is the majority of Republican primary voters want Trump. And if they can't have Trump, they want someone similar. As a democracy, they then get to elect someone who has these awful views and who is willing to destroy democracy to get their way.

    • ParkHill says:

      Polling by Bulwark. Reported here by Josh Marshall at TPM.

      DeSantis beats Trump in the Primary and Trump will run as a third Party, which will remove 28% of Republican voters. 2024 Election results:
       – Biden 52%
       – DeSantis 35%
       – Trump: 13%

      The Bulwark has a poll out today which shows a greatly weakened Donald Trump but one who still holds an iron grip on about a third of the GOP primary electorate. In this poll he loses to Ron DeSantis in a head to head match up (52-30), in a three way race with “another candidate” (44-28) and even in a ten candidate race (39-28). These numbers are substantially different from other recent polls which have consistently shown Trump leading DeSantis in an actual multi-candidate race, usually by double digits. (538RCP)

      But the kicker in that Bulwark poll is that 28% of the GOP primary electorate is going to vote for Trump for President even if he decides to run as a third party candidate. They also point out that this isn’t very different from what happened in 2016. He generally won a third or a bit more of a given state primary, piled up delegates and the rest of the party fell into line once Trump was clearly the guy.

      • kwtree says:

        But here’s what I think the Bulwark/North Star Opinion Research’s poll and my focus groups demonstrate about where we are right now:

        If you want to argue that the GOP is moving on from Trump, you’re right.

        If you want to argue that Trump still has a grip on enough of the base to win a fractured GOP primary, you’re also (probably) right.

        Because Trump is not a candidate and Trumpism has no policy platform. Trumpism is a cult and Trump is its deity.

        And if you want to argue that voters who are interested in moving on from Trump still like Trump and could swing back to him if Ron DeSantis doesn’t fulfill all their hopes and dreams once he’s on the big stage . . . well, I think that’s right, too.

        Which is why it’s not enough for Republicans to simply hope Trump fades and another candidate emerges. They have to be proactive about chipping away at the 30 percent of Always Trumpers before it’s too late.

        What world does this author live in? In my world, Republicans will NEVER be proactive about "chipping away at the 30 percent of Always Trumpers before it's too late".

        Am I wrong? All I see are Republicans who tacitly encourage the Trump Cult because they are reliable R voters.

        • ParkHill says:

          I think what he means is that IF Republicans, (i.e. the Republican power brokers, strategists, and Never Trumpers) actually want to get rid of Trump, they have to make a far more concerted and serious effort than they are doing now.

          As you imply, we don't see this with the Maga crowd, Fox News, Steve Bannon and all the other horses of the apocalypse gunning for fascism. 

          My problem is that Ron DeSantis is seriously working to pick up the fascist banner, and the Maga crowd might switch over to him.

        • Conserv. Head Banger says:

          (kwtree) Open your eyes a bit wider. I hope you don’t think that the big wins on abortion issues last year in red states KS, KY, MT weren’t helped along by pro-choice Republicans?

          We do what we can when and where. I happen to be a paid subscriber to The Bulwark. I’ve toyed with the idea of trying to get more active in local R politics. But I’ve already got enough going on with my outdoor related stuff, and some indoor hobbies, that there just isn’t enough time in the day (“don’t ever retire; you won’t have time to do anything”).

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