Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-3) sent a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in support of Canyons of the Ancients National Monument (Canyons) in Southwest Colorado. In the letter, Gardner and Tipton state, “any review of Canyons should conclude that no changes to the designation are necessary.”
The full letter reads below:
Dear Mr. Secretary:
We write in support of Canyons of the Ancients National Monument (Canyons) in Southwest Colorado. Canyons is a national monument being reviewed by the Department of the Interior pursuant to President Trump’s Executive Order 13792, and we believe any review of Canyons should conclude that no changes to the designation are necessary.
Located near Mesa Verde National Park, Canyons was designated by Presidential Proclamation on June 9, 2000, and has the highest known archeological site density of any monument in the United States. With just over 6,000 sites already recorded, there are estimates that there may be between 20,000 and 30,000 sites within the boundaries of the monument.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) says about this area, “The archeological record etched into this landscape is much more than isolated islands of architecture. The more than 6,355 recorded sites reflect all the physical components of past human life: villages, field houses, check dams, reservoirs, great kivas, cliff dwellings, shrines, sacred springs, agricultural fields, petroglyphs, and sweat lodges. Some areas have more than 100 sites per square mile.
“Lands within and around the Monument have been used or inhabited by humans, including the Northern Ancestral Puebloan culture, for 10,000 years, and continue to be used by humans today. Historic uses of the Monument include recreation, hunting, livestock grazing, and energy development.”
The designation of Canyons is an example of what the Antiquities Act was intended to do – protect cultural treasures while incorporating the historic use of the land in to the management of the monument so that communities support and promote the designation.
It is also an example of consequences that are often not considered by administrations when contemplating these designations: existing funding levels are often times not adequate to support the increase in tourism a designation may bring with it; existing infrastructure that is incapable of accommodating the increased tourism; and land management agencies’ resources being diverted from traditional roles, like permitting of oil and gas or grazing leases to other functions necessary to maintain the monument. Fortunately, Montezuma County, Colorado, where Canyons is located, has forged ahead with BLM to make progress on many of these issues.
Coloradans respect and value our public lands, because we understand that our public lands system is unique among all the countries in the world. Canyons is a significant piece of that uniqueness given the history that is preserved there.
We hope this information is taken into consideration as you evaluate the designation of Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, and urge you to protect the designation as it stands.Read More
Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03) issued the following statement after the president released his fiscal year 2018 (FY18) federal budget request:
“As the House develops the budget resolution that will guide the FY18 appropriations process, I welcome the president’s input on federal spending priorities. Our country is at a critical junction, and the federal government cannot continue to spend money it doesn’t have. As terrorist groups continue to perpetrate evil acts and spread fear around the world, we must prioritize funding for national defense and diplomacy. It is also critical that we focus federal resources on programs that deliver results for Americans and create jobs, and we must ensure our social safety nets are sustainable for those who truly need them. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the budget and appropriations committees to ensure the priorities of the Third Congressional District are reflected in our budget blueprint and upcoming appropriations bills.”Read More
Recent hearings in the House Natural Resources Committee have focused on healthy forest management and the protection of privately-held water rights – two issues that are critical in Colorado.
During an oversight hearing in the Subcommittee on Federal Lands, I had the opportunity to discuss solutions for effective forest management and wildfire prevention with our panel of witnesses. It is far more efficient and cost effective to proactively manage our forests; but unfortunately, federal efforts to responsibly manage forests and prevent the conditions that lead to catastrophic wildfires have been hampered by an unwieldy regulatory framework.
I believe that empowering states to work collaboratively with the federal government to make forest management decisions in high-risk areas on National Forest Service Lands and lands under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management will help restore forests to healthy conditions. In previous sessions of Congress, I have introduced the Healthy Forests Management Act, which is a bill that would allow state governors, in consultation with county governments from affected counties and affected Indian tribes, to designate high-risk areas and develop emergency hazardous fuels reduction projects for those areas. Additionally, the bill would allow forest treatment projects to move forward under a streamlined review process.
Language from the Healthy Forests Management Act passed the House of Representatives as part of the Resilient Federal Forests Act in the 114th Congress, and I am confident that we will be able to get this bipartisan effort across the finish line in the 115th Congress.
I also had the opportunity to participate in a hearing in the Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans, where a draft of my bill to protect privately-held water and property rights was up for discussion.
In recent decades, directives from the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) have attempted to require the transfer of privately-held water rights to the federal government as a permit condition on National Forest System lands. There is no compensation for the transfer of these privately-held rights, despite the fact that many stakeholders have invested millions of dollars of their own capital in developing them.
These federal attempts to manipulate the federal permit, lease, and land management processes to circumvent long-established state water law and hijack privately-held rights have sounded the alarm for all non-federal water users that rely on these water rights for their livelihood. The Water Rights Protection Act would provide certainty by upholding longstanding federal deference to state water law.
I appreciated the discussion on the Water Rights Protection Act, and I know that many of my colleagues are committed to ensuring Western water users have the certainty they need to prosper and thrive in the arid West. I look forward to finalizing and introducing this bill in the 115th Congress.
Too often, issues like forest management and water rights don’t make it into the news, but they have profound impacts on Coloradans. I remain committed to ensuring voices from the West are heard in the policy discussions happening in Washington.Read More
I recently had the opportunity visit Pueblo and Alamosa to share updates on the federal response to the opioid abuse epidemic. In Pueblo, I spoke with health care providers from the Pueblo Community Health Center about the impact prescription drug and heroin abuse is having on mothers and infants, and at a roundtable discussion in Alamosa, I received updates from law enforcement officials and health care professionals about the county’s response to the epidemic.Read More
A discussion draft of Congressman Scott Tipton’s (CO-03) Water Rights Protection Act was the focus of a hearing in the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans. Mr. Chris Treese, External Affairs Manager for the Colorado River District, testified in support of Tipton’s bill, and members of the subcommittee had the opportunity to provide input on the draft measure.
In an opening statement before the committee, Tipton said, “Over many decades, federal attempts to manipulate the federal permit, lease and land management process to circumvent long-established state water law and hijack privately-held water rights have sounded the alarm for all non-federal water users that rely on these water rights for their livelihood. The Water Rights Protection Act is commonsense legislation that provides certainty by upholding longstanding federal deference to state water law.”
In recent decades, directives from the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) have attempted to require the transfer of privately-held water rights to the federal government as a permit condition on National Forest System lands. There is no compensation for the transfer of these privately-held rights, despite the fact that many stakeholders have invested millions of dollars of their own capital in developing them. Tipton’s bill would permanently protect state water law and private property rights from future federal takings.
The Water Rights Protection Act passed the House of Representatives in the 113th and 114th Congresses with bipartisan support.
“Short of legislation to codify long-held state water law and priority-based systems, and to prohibit uncompensated takings, the federal government can continue its attempts to take private water rights or restrict water users from accessing them,” Tipton added. “The Water Rights Protection Act is a permanent solution to this problem, and I appreciate my colleagues’ commitment to ensuring Western water users have the certainty they need to prosper and thrive in the arid West.”
Tipton’s opening remarks during the hearing can be viewed here.
An audio file of Tipton’s opening remarks can be downloaded here.Read More
During an oversight hearing in the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands, Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03) discussed solutions for effective forest management.
“Fire does not know a boundary, from private to state to federal lands,” Tipton said during the hearing. He asked the panel to discuss how forest management on private land compares with that on state and federal lands.
Mr. James Cummins, Executive Director of Wildlife Mississippi, whose family’s land borders federal forest land managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, indicated that his family conducts prescribed burns and implements measures to control invasive species. However, these types of efforts do not occur on the adjacent federal land.
“We’re constantly conducting invasive species control … we create firebreaks, we do controlled burns. The federal land does not do any controlled burns. No invasive species control,” Cummins said. “The firebreaks we put in are for a combination of two reasons. One, we don’t want our prescribed fire to get out, and plus we don’t want any wildfire that may start on public land to cross over the boundary and burn the reforestation efforts we’ve spent time and money establishing.”
In the 114th Congress, in testimony before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Chief Tom Tidwell said that 58 million acres of national forest were at high or very high risk of severe wildfire. The USFS has reported that the direct cost for responding to the impacts of catastrophic wildfires reached $166 million from 2011 to 2016, and wildfires destroyed 36,827 structures between 2006 and 2016.
Tipton has called for the federal government to empower states to proactively take action to restore forest health and reduce the risks of catastrophic wildfires. Language from Tipton’s bill to increase state control 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.
Following Wednesday’s hearing, Tipton said, “It’s far more efficient and cost effective to proactively manage our forests, and I think the testimony we heard from our panel of witnesses will help strengthen our efforts to craft a forest management strategy that will take immediate action to address the hazardous conditions of national forests.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) are asking states for input on how the federal government should regulate wetlands and small waterways under the Clean Water Act. In 2015, the Obama Administration finalized a far-reaching mandate under the Clean Water Act known as the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule, which expanded the EPA’s jurisdiction to regulate surface water. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay of WOTUS, and the White House has moved to revoke the rule entirely.
In a letter to state governors, the EPA and Army Corps have asked for “input and wisdom on a forthcoming proposal to revise the definition of waters of the United States.” Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03) is encouraging Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, and state officials to engage in the process.
“We all want access to clean and reliable water supplies. This is why the Clean Water Act was signed into law in 1948 and expanded in 1972. What we don’t want is for unelected bureaucrats to legislate through rulemaking. This is what the EPA did with WOTUS, and Colorado responded by joining several other Western States in a lawsuit against the rule,” said Tipton. “It is important for Colorado to have a voice in the debate over how water, the most precious resource in the West, will be regulated by the federal government.”
On Feb. 28, 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order on “Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the ‘Waters of the United States’ Rule.” The order directed the EPA and Amy Corps to consider interpreting the term “navigable waters” in a manner consistent with the opinion of the late Justice Antonin Scalia in Rapanos v. United States (2006). The opinion stated that only relatively permanent, standing, or continuously flowing bodies of water should be considered “waters of the United States,” and reaffirmed the Clean Water Act’s policy to “protect the primary responsibilities and rights of the States.”
“For over a century, state water law and priority-based systems have successfully protected water rights to ensure water users and communities retain the ability to responsibly access and manage their resources. We must preserve this system,” Tipton added.
In the letter, the EPA and Army Corps wrote, “We want to clearly understand what definition will work best for your state as we develop a new definition of ‘waters of the United States’ consistent with the Scalia opinion. In addition, we are interested in understanding how your state might respond to a reduced scope of federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act.”
View the full letter here.Read More
Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03) announced Tiona Cordova, a Senior at Centennial High School in Pueblo, as the winner of the 2017 3rd District Congressional Art Competition. The 2017 competition featured ten original works of art from students across the 3rd District, including from Pueblo, Creede, and Telluride.
Tipton announced Cordova’s winning entry, “Utmost Appreciation,” an acrylic painting on paper during a reception in Alamosa on May 9, 2017, where all of the entries were on exhibit and judged by a panel made up of members of the local art community. The winning piece will be sent to Washington, DC, where it will be on display for the next year in the U.S. Capitol Complex.
“These students have remarkable, artistic abilities and I am always incredibly proud of the artwork they produce every year,” Tipton said. “The panel of judges has a tough task of selecting a winner, as the works submitted are all worthy of appreciation and demonstrate impressive skill. I want to congratulate Tiona for her exceptional painting this year and thank all of the students who participated.”
Each participant received a certificate of recognition. The first place winner also received airfare to Washington, DC, for the Congressional Institute’s Awards Reception on June 29th, 2017 (not at taxpayer expense). In addition, the first place artwork will be displayed in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, from June 2017 to May 2018, along with other winning artworks from Congressional Districts throughout the nation.
Results of the 3rd Congressional District Art Competition:
Honorable Mentions: Kalena Muller, Sophomore, Centennial High School, Pueblo; Soleil Skye Gaylord, Junior, Telluride High School, Telluride.
The Congressional Art competition takes place each spring. Students are encouraged to visit Congressman Tipton’s website to learn more: https://tipton.house.gov/serving-you/art-competition.Read More
I recently had the opportunity visit Pueblo and Alamosa, Colorado, to share updates on the federal response to the opioid abuse epidemic. In Pueblo, I spoke with health care providers from the Pueblo Community Health Center about the impact prescription drug and heroin abuse is having on mothers and infants, and at a roundtable discussion in Alamosa, I received updates from law enforcement officials and health care professionals about the county’s response to the epidemic.
The opioid abuse epidemic that is impacting so many communities across the United States is a public health crisis, and Congress has been working to make sure communities have the resources they need to develop and sustain prevention, treatment, and recovery programs.
In 2016, Congress passed and the president signed the 21st Century Cures Act and the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) into law. Both of these bills authorized programs to provide states with more resources to expand opioid abuse prevention and treatment efforts.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced that the state of Colorado would receive a $7.8 million grant through the 21st Century Cures Act to support opioid prevention, treatment, and recovery services in our state. I know that Colorado’s health care providers, law enforcement officers, educators, and community support groups are committed to saving lives and bringing an end to prescription drug and heroin abuse, and this grant will be extremely helpful for our state.
In addition to the 21st Century Cures grant, HHS also recently announced two new grant opportunities that are a result of the CARA. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is now accepting applications for the CARA State Pilot Grant Program for Treatment for Pregnant and Postpartum Women and Building Communities of Recovery program.
Funding for the state pilot grant program has been set at $3.3 million, and single state agencies for substance abuse are eligible to apply. Total anticipated available funding for the Building Communities of Recovery program has been set at $2.6 million, and I hope that recovery community organizations in Colorado will consider applying. Both applications are due on Monday, July 3, 2017.
The most common feedback I have received from the people who are on the frontlines of the fight against opioid abuse is that they don’t have the resources they need to combat the epidemic effectively, especially in rural communities. I know we still have a long way to go in this fight, but I am hopeful that the resources that have been made available through the CARA and 21st Century Cures Act will bring much needed support to communities in Colorado.Read More
The U.S. House of Representatives recently advanced a measure that would give employers and employees more flexibility in designing policies for overtime work and paid leave. The bill, the Working Families Flexibility Act of 2017 (H.R. 1180), would give workers the option of accepting paid time off instead of a cash payment for overtime hours worked during a 40-hour work week.
Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03) supported the bill’s passage and indicated that the measure would help meet the needs of today’s workforce.
“The U.S. workforce has changed a lot since the Fair Labor Standards Act was implemented in the 1930’s, and our laws need to reflect the changing needs of today’s families and workers,” said Tipton. “Employees should have the flexibility to use overtime benefits as they see fit. This bill moves us in a positive direction.”
Under H.R. 1180, no employee could be forced to accept paid time off in lieu of overtime pay. Any arrangement must be completely voluntary, instituted on an employee-by-employee basis, and would require the employer and employee to complete a written agreement.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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As terrorist groups continue to perpetrate evil acts, we must prioritize funding for national defense. My full stmt: https://t.co/ylaJQ65Sia
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Taylor Mesa Rd on Dolores District expected to be closed at least till June 2nd. Road has failed in multiple locati… https://t.co/56XS2piPxl
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Forest management and water rights were the focus of hearings in the Natural Resources Committee this week. Here's my take on the issues: