Sunday, August 29, 2010

Colorado Governor-speak

Judson Harmon

At the Summer meeting of the Colorado Water Congress, both Govenor candidates made remarks on the state's water issues.  Democrat candidate John Hickenlooper directed his comments mostly toward water conservation - suggesting that reducing current uses was the best way to extend current supplies.  But it was Republican candidate Dan Maes who took the additional storage position.  He said:  “If it starts in Colorado, it's our water. The question is how do we keep it here,” and “We need to store as much of our water in the state as possible.”

This mind-set harkens back to the old Harmon Doctrine that held water sovereignty for any state or country.  While Attorney General Judson Harmon, in 1895, did opine that waters of the Rio Grande were sovereign to the US, this doctrine was legally questioned as early as 1897, and has never really been held to by the U.S. Government.

As such, most would say that Colorado Governor candidate Maes' remarks are likely more rhetoric than an implementable state policy.  It's also possible that the comments were taken out of context, or not completely covered in the news article this post is based on.  In any event, Alex Basilevski (Environmental Department of Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel in Philadelphia) did a blog on this doctrine earlier in regard to Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue's similar statements.  Link:  Harmon Doctrine.  As always, this will be an interesting issue to follow along on.

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