The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Electricity Reliability Protection Act (H.R. 1873), which will help prevent catastrophic wildfires on federal land by streamlining the process for clearing overgrown vegetation around power lines. Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03) voted in support of the bill.
“Utility company employees are often the first to identify overgrown vegetation near power lines, and they notify the appropriate federal agencies of the problem. Unfortunately, many of these warnings get ignored or placed on the backburner, and the utility companies are left to cover the cost of firefighting and other recovery efforts.” said Tipton. “We must streamline the process for clearing overgrowth in order to prevent catastrophic wildfires and protect our communities.”
Since 2013, the U.S. Forest Service has reported 113 wildfires that resulted from trees making contact with power lines. Federal agencies currently take upwards of four months before granting utility companies permission to remove overgrown vegetation. H.R. 1873 would require federal agencies to respond to local utility companies within 90 days of the date the company submits a plan to eliminate overgrown vegetation around power lines.
Tipton also supported an amendment to H.R. 1873 that would ensure staff at the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior are educated on the benefits of using unmanned technologies to monitor overgrowth and identify potentially hazardous conditions.
“Unmanned technologies can play an important role in forest management, especially in areas where the terrain and topography create significant travel hazards. It will be extremely valuable for federal agencies to gain a better understanding of how they can use unmanned technologies to carry out land management responsibilities,” Tipton added.
H.R. 1873 passed the House with a bipartisan vote of 300-118. The bill will now be considered by the Senate.Read More
Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03) reintroduced the Water Rights Protection Act (H.R. 2939), a bill that would uphold federal deference to state water law and prevent federal takings of privately held water rights.
“In recent years, the federal government has repeatedly attempted to circumvent long-established state water law by requiring the transfer of privately-held water rights to the federal government as a permit condition for use of land owned by the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management,” said Tipton. “These efforts constitute a gross federal overreach and violation of private property rights. My bill provides permanent protections for ski areas, farmers, ranchers, and others in the West.”
In 2014, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) proposed the Groundwater Resource Management Directive, which gave the federal government jurisdiction over groundwater in a manner that was inconsistent with long-established state water law. The USFS withdrew the measure but has indicated a desire to issue a revised directive in the future. The Water Rights Protection Act would prohibit the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior from requiring the transfer of water rights as a condition of any land-use permit. The bill would also ensure that any future groundwater directives from the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior are consistent with state water law.
Tipton’s bill has drawn praise from county commissioners and water conservancy districts across the Third Congressional District of Colorado.
In a letter of support, the Dolores Water Conservancy District wrote, “The Water Rights Protection Act decisively addresses the elimination of risks and uncertainties related to federal taking of water. The clarification and direction provided by the proposed act will make management decisions, and work with our partners to make important water supply decisions, much more certain and secure.”
The Garfield County Board of Commissioners wrote, “Garfield County, like many governments in Colorado and the west remains fiercely concerned over the continued challenge the federal government poses to the supremacy of Colorado water law. To that end, Garfield County places its full support behind Representative Tipton’s efforts.”
The Water Rights Protection Act passed out of the House of Representatives with bipartisan support in both the 113th and 114th Congresses.
“Water is the most precious resource we have in the arid West, and how we manage and protect our water supply has implications on everything from growing crops to managing wildlife habitats. The Water Rights Protection Act is a sensible approach that would preserve the water rights of all water users and provide certainty that the federal government cannot take their rights in the future,” Tipton added.
For too long, the U.S. has operated with no comprehensive plan for meeting the inevitable increased demand for energy created by both traditional and renewable resources. As the energy economy continues to evolve, we must develop a true all-of-the-above energy strategy that will ensure both U.S. energy security and affordable power for American families well into the future.
We often talk about the need for an all-of-the-above approach, but it order to make it a reality, we need a plan. This is where my bill, the Planning for American Energy Act, comes in.
I recently reintroduced the Planning for American Energy Act (H.R. 2907) in the 115th Congress. The bill is pretty straightforward – it would require the U.S. to develop an all-of-the-above approach to meet the projected energy demand of the United States over the next 30 years.
Specifically, it would require the Energy Information Administration (EIA) to project the nation’s energy needs and the Departments of Interior and Agriculture to develop four-year energy production plans to meet those needs. The plans would need to include all sources – wind, solar, hydropower, geothermal, oil, natural gas, coal, oil shale and minerals – and they would preserve current environmental reviews and safeguards.
According to the EIA, in 2015, 60 percent of the electricity generated in Colorado came from coal, 22 percent came from natural gas, and 18 percent was generated by renewable energy resources. Across the U.S. in 2016, natural gas accounted for 34 percent of electricity generation, coal accounted for 31 percent, nuclear power for 20 percent, and renewables for 15 percent.
Technology in both traditional and renewable energy development continues to advance, and I am confident that the innovation we’re seeing will help support an all-of-the-above strategy that will create thousands of new jobs, keep energy costs low for families and businesses, and strengthen our national security.
We have an incredible opportunity before us, and it is time to put a plan in place.Read More
The House Natural Resources Committee considered a draft of the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017, a bill that will help improve proactive management of federal forests and prevent catastrophic wildfires. During the hearing, Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03) focused on the efficiencies the draft legislation will bring to management processes within the U.S. Forest Service.
Tipton spoke with witness Jim Nieman, President of the Federal Forest Resource Coalition, about the impact that streamlining assessments under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) would have on forest management. Nieman indicated that the Forest Service currently takes longer and uses more resources than other agencies to approve management projects, but the Resilient Federal Forest Act will help bring more efficiency to Forest Service’s NEPA process.
Tipton also spoke about a project near Pagosa Springs, CO, in which the San Juan Headwaters Forest Health Partnership was able to utilize funds from the Department of Agriculture Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership to thin 500 acres of private, federal, and city-owned forests. The project used the thinned timber to support a local biomass facility.
“The Forest Service was pointing out trees that were growing that shouldn’t be at that elevation – the overgrowth that was taking place. That healthy forest management attitude, to be able to create that win-win, I think is essential,” Tipton said.
Tipton’s remarks can be viewed here.
Language from Tipton’s Healthy Forest Management Act, a bill to increase collaboration between federal, state, and local governments on proactive forest management, passed the House as part of the Resilient Federal Forests Act in the 114th Congress. The language is expected to be included in the version of the bill will be introduced in the 115th Congress.Read More
Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03) re-introduced the Planning for American Energy Act (H.R. 2907), a bill that would bring the U.S. closer to creating an all-of-the-above American energy plan to meet the nation’s growing energy needs.
The bill would require the Energy Information Administration to project U.S. energy needs over the next 30 years and the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture to develop four-year energy production plans that include wind, solar, hydropower, geothermal, oil, natural gas, coal, oil shale and minerals. The Planning for American Energy Act would preserve current environmental reviews and safeguards to support responsible development of all energy sources.
“Putting a true all-of-the-above domestic energy plan into place would unleash the potential for thousands of new jobs and ensure the U.S. has energy security well into the future,” said Tipton. “It’s great to talk about the need for an all-of-the-above approach, but in order to make it a reality, we need a plan.”
The Planning for American Energy Act passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support twice in the 113th Congress, as part of the Lowering Gasoline Prices to Fuel an America that Works Act (H.R. 4899) and the American Energy Solutions for Lower Costs and More Jobs Act (H.R. 2).
“Creating a sustainable energy future in this country is something that Congress must prioritize. It will put Americans back to work, keep energy costs low for families and businesses, and strengthen our national security. We have an incredible opportunity before us, and it is time to put a plan in place,” Tipton added.
Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03) supported the VETERAN Act (H.R. 2372) and the Broader Options for Americans Act (H.R. 2579), bills that would make health insurance accessible for more Coloradans.
The VETERAN Act would allow veterans who choose to receive health care services outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) system to use premium tax credits provided by the federal government to purchase private insurance. Veterans who choose to use the VA system for health care services will see no change in their benefits.
“It’s critically important that the brave men and women who have served our country have access to high quality health care and receive all of the benefits they have earned. The VA system provides many valuable services to our veterans, but veterans should have the ability to seek health care outside of the system if needed,” Tipton said.
The Broader Options Act ensures that Americans can use tax credits under the American Health Care Act (AHCA) to purchase insurance through COBRA, a program that allows individuals who may have recently lost employer-sponsored health insurance to extend their health benefits for a limited period of time.
The VETERAN Act and Broader Options Act are part of phase three of the House’s effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Phases one and two of the effort are made up of the reconciliation process and administrative action. The House passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA) through the reconciliation process on May 4, 2017. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price continues to take action to provide Americans with relief from onerous ACA regulations.
“These two bills are part of our efforts to repeal and replace the ACA with a health care system that works for all Americans,” Tipton added. “I remain committed to working towards a system that will ensure every Coloradan, and all Americans, have access to affordable, patient-centered health care services.”
The shooting at a Congressional Baseball Game practice Wednesday that left five people, including a congressman, wounded and the assailant dead brought swift and strong reaction in the nation’s Capitol.
Majority House Whip Rep. Scott Scalise, R-Louisiana, was among those hit in a hail of gunfire during the baseball practice for Thursday’s game. His staff released a statement saying he had undergone one surgery; a spokesperson for MedStar Washington Hospital Center told CNN that the congressman was in critical condition.
Alexandria Police Chief Michael Brown told reporters five people were transported from the shooting scene, including two U.S. Capitol Police officers.
The assailant has been identified by law enforcement officials as James T. Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Illinois. President Donald Trump said during a news conference that Hodgkinson died from his injuries.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, said in a statement Hodgkinson had volunteered on his presidential campaign.
“I am sickened by this despicable act. Let me be as clear as I can be,” Sanders said in a statement. “Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, was at the practice and told CNN the officers saved their lives.
“Nobody would have survived without the Capitol Hill police,” Paul said. “He was just killing everyone. He would’ve. It would have been a massacre.”
Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colorado, issued a news release stating his thoughts and prayers are with those who are injured and thanked those who risked their lives.
“This morning’s shooting is a reminder that we must never take for granted the heroism of the Capitol Police, who risk their lives every day to protect our nation’s Capitol,” Bennet said.
Congressmen quickly sent out tweets and press releases for their condolences to the victims.
The spokeswoman for Colorado Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, Liz Payne, said the Congressman is praying for Scalise, his staff, the Capitol Police and everyone who was involved in the tragedy.
Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colorado, said the nation needs to stand as one, and tweeted that he was also praying for Scalise. He added he was grateful for the officers.
“The actions Capitol Police took today to prevent further injury is remarkable,” Gardner tweeted. “They are all heroes.”
Trump said he had spoken with Scalise’s wife, Jennifer Scalise, and pledged his full and absolute support to the family.
The House canceled many activities on Wednesday.Read More
Reinforcing his support for proactive forest management, Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03) signed on as an original cosponsor of the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act (H.R. 2862), a bill that would reform the federal budgeting process for wildfire prevention and suppression efforts.
“For too long, the process the federal government has used to allocate money to fight catastrophic wildfires has undermined forest management efforts that could prevent these types of fires from igniting in the first place,” said Tipton. “By changing the way money is appropriated for agencies’ firefighting efforts, we can end the ‘fire-borrowing’ practice that has robbed the Forest Service and other land management agencies of the resources they need for active management.”
Congress currently sets funding for wildfire suppression based on the average of the annual firefighting costs over the previous ten-years. If firefighting costs exceed an agency’s budget, it must shift money from non-firefighting accounts to make up the difference. Fewer resources are then left to support the active forest management that helps prevent catastrophic wildfires.
The Wildfire Disaster Funding Act would treat wildfires like other natural disasters after an agency’s wildfire suppression funds are exhausted. The cost of any “extraordinary” firefighting that goes beyond the agency’s annual budget would be funded through a budget cap adjustment similar to what is currently used by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for other natural disasters.
During a recent hearing in the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands, Tipton questioned Mr. Lyle Laverty, Former Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish, Wildlife and Parks, about the impact the current budget process has had on reforestation efforts.
Laverty said, “I really believe as I look around and talk to folks across the country – one of our big challenges comes in reforestation after burns. And part of it goes back to this wildfire funding issue. We don’t have the resources in place to be able to bring back actual reforestation of these burned areas.”
Watch his full remarks here.
Tipton has been a long-time advocate of empowering states and local communities to collaborate with the federal government to restore forest health and reduce the risks of catastrophic wildfires. Language from Tipton’s bill to support this collaboration, the Healthy Forest Management Act, passed the House of Representatives as part of the Resilient Federal Forest Act in the 114th Congress.Read More
Did you know the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 includes more regulations than all other laws signed by President Barack Obama combined?
You may be wondering, the Dodd-Who Act? The Dodd-Frank Act was the Obama administration's response to the financial crisis of 2007, when the housing market crashed after federal policies encouraged banks to issue mortgages to people who couldn't afford them.
Banks were bundling these bad mortgages together and selling them like they were strong investments, but they weren't. When people stopped paying their mortgages, the whole market crashed. The federal government bailed out the banks, and taxpayers had to foot the $700 billion bill.
Since the great recession of 2008, the United States has seen the lowest economic recovery in 70 years — partly due to the heavy-handed regulations included in Dodd-Frank. And instead of fixing the problems that led to the financial crisis in the first place, regulations from the Dodd-Frank Act have made big banks bigger, put Americans at risk for a future bailout of banks deemed "too-big-to-fail," forced community banks and credit unions to shut their doors, and limited the access families and small businesses have to important financial services.
The Financial CHOICE Act, which recently passed the House, will help us reverse these troubling trends, grow jobs and accelerate overall economic growth.
Since Dodd-Frank was signed into law, more than 1,900 community financial institutions have shut their doors. The ones that are still standing have had to scale back their services. This is bad for the American people for three reasons: 1) Without competition from community banks, the big banks have grown bigger; 2) Community banks and credit unions are typically the institutions that help job creators — small businesses — access the credit or capital they need to expand; and 3) When community banks must focus more resources on complying with federal regulations, they cannot fully serve the families and businesses in their communities.
The Financial CHOICE Act addresses each of these problems.
The CHOICE Act sets a high loss-absorbing private capital threshold that a financial institution would need to meet in order to seek relief from regulations. Not only will this make banks stronger, it will also protect taxpayers from having to fund another government bailout.
A 2017 report from S&P Global shows that the seven largest U.S. banks would have to collectively raise hundreds of billions of dollars in new equity to meet the new capital requirements and receive regulatory relief. Alternatively, community banks and credit unions typically hold higher capital reserves and would be well within reach of the new threshold.
The CHOICE Act also includes my bill, the Taking Account of Institutions with Low Operation Risk Act, which would require financial regulatory agencies to tailor regulations to fit the business model and risk profile of the financial institution, rather than regulate a community bank like a big bank on Wall Street.
Placing community banks and credit unions under a workable, common-sense regulatory structure will allow them to keep their doors open, prevent the nation's capital from being concentrated in a small number of large banks and allow smaller financial institutions to fully serve their communities.
When community banks have to spend resources complying with federal regulations that were never meant to apply to them in the first place, families lose out on important services, such as free checking accounts. Before Dodd-Frank, 75 percent of banks offered free checking accounts. By 2016, the number had dropped to 38 percent.
We have also seen minimum balance requirements to qualify for free checking increase almost fourfold, and average monthly account fees have more than tripled. The result? The number of American households that are unbanked or underbanked was up by more than 3 million, as of 2015. The updated regulatory structure included in CHOICE will increase access to banking services and give more households the ability to achieve financial security.
It is well past time that Congress takes action to remedy the consequences of Dodd-Frank. The Financial CHOICE Act sets us up to say goodbye to the regulatory environment that has held our country back for the past seven years. I implore the Senate to act quickly on this important piece of legislation.
Congressman Scott R. Tipton represents Colorado's 3rd District. Contact him through his website, tipton.house.gov.Read More
During a recent hearing in the House Natural Resources Federal Lands Subcommittee, Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03) questioned Mr. Lyle Laverty, Former Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish, Wildlife and Parks, about the critical role that salvage harvesting plays in forest management.
In his testimony, Laverty indicated that if the dead timber in California and Colorado were combined, it would supply building material to construct almost 6 million 2,400 sq. ft. homes and support approximately 11,500 jobs.
Laverty said, “There’s 266 million cubic feet of dead wood that died in 2015. To put our arms around what that number means, if you stack all of that dead wood that died in 2015 on Broncos Stadium – former world champions – that stack of wood would be 5,000 feet high.”
Tipton asked Laverty if salvage harvesting would create benefits for the federal government, communities, and forests, noting that everyone wants to see a healthy forest and more jobs.
Laverty responded, “I believe that [with] active forest management, not only can we improve forest health conditions and create resilient landscapes, but we can in fact make jobs. I believe that by creating these investment opportunities, we can in fact make and generate wealth and health in America’s rural communities.”
Tipton has called for the federal government to work with states and local communities to restore forest health and reduce the risks of catastrophic wildfires. Language from Tipton’s bill to increase collaboration between federal, state, and local governments over forest management decisions, the Healthy Forest Management Act, passed the House of Representatives as part of the Resilient Federal Forests Act in the 114th Congress.Read More
218 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Congressman Scott Tipton was raised in Cortez, Colorado. He graduated from Ft. Lewis College in Durango, where he studied Political Science and became the first person in his family to earn a college degree. After college, he returned home to Cortez and co-founded Mesa Verde Indian Pottery with his brother Joe. It was through his business that Scott met his wife, Jean, who is a former school teacher. The Tipton’s have two daughters, Liesl and Elizabeth, and two sons-in-law, Chris and Jace.
After a lifetime running his small business, Scott was elected as a Republican to the Colorado House of Representatives for the 58th District in November of 2008. During his time at the state House, he worked to ensure quality water for the people of Colorado and to improve the air quality of Southwest Colorado. He also sponsored legislation to protect children from the worst criminal offenders by mandating harsher penalties for child sex-offenders and allowing law enforcement to collect DNA evidence from suspects through Jessica’s Law and Katie’s Law.
Scott was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010 and again in 2012 for a second term.
In the 112th Congress, Scott pushed hard to advance a federal version of Katie’s Law to encourage additional states to implement minimum DNA collection standards and enhanced collection processes for felons in order to strengthen law enforcement’s ability to prevent violent crimes, and protect women and children. That effort became a reality when the President signed Katie’s Law on January 3, 2013.
Using his positions on the House Natural Resources, Agriculture and Small Business Committees, Scott has is fighting for the issues that most directly impact Coloradans, many of which involve our state’s extensive open spaces and natural resources. In his first term, Scott introduced legislation to encourage healthy forest management and prevent wildfire, as well as passed a bill in the House with bipartisan support to advance the development of clean, renewable hydropower. He is also leading the charge in Congress to stop a federal grab of privately-held water rights, standing up for farmers and ranchers, the ski industry, and all who rely on their water rights to survive.
Scott is champion of advancing an all-of-the-above energy solution that balances common sense conservation with responsible development. He passed the Planning for American Energy Act through the House (as a title under the American Domestic Energy and Jobs Act) to put requirements into place to develop wind, solar, hydropower, geothermal, oil, natural gas, coal, oil shale and minerals, based on the needs of the American people.
Scott has used his experience as a small businessman to inform his work as a Subcommittee Chairman on the Small Business Committee. Here he has worked to protect farmers and ranchers from regulatory overreach, as well as push for expanded trade opportunities for Colorado products. Scott is a co-founder of the Congressional Small Business Caucus, a bipartisan caucus committed to open dialogue on the issues that most impact small businesses. Members of the Congressional Small Business Caucus are dedicated to advancing efforts to foster the economic certainty needed for small businesses and entrepreneurs to succeed and create jobs.
In the 113th Congress, Scott continues to represent the many interests of one of the most diverse and geographically vast districts in the nation. He will fight to bring Colorado common sense to Washington—focusing on reforming regulation, protecting Colorado’s natural environment, encouraging responsible all-of-the-above energy development, reducing government spending, and removing hurdles so that small businesses can do what they do best—create jobs.
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Earlier this week I was honored when the National Association of Manufacturers presented me with their Award for Manufacturing Legislative Excellence.
Reminder: if you would like to participate in my telephone town hall on Monday at 6PM MT, please call my office in Washington, DC, at 202-225-4761
Utility companies are often the first to identify overgrown vegetation near power lines, and they notify the appropriate federal agencies of
In recent years, the federal government has repeatedly attempted to circumvent long-established state water law by requiring the transfer of
ICYMI: today Secretary Zinke assured Senator Cory Gardner that Canyons of the Ancients is not under review.