Monday, May 20, 2024

Nederland Repeals Rights of Nature Resolution as Harmful to Water Security

Middle Boulder CreekNederland diverts drinking water from Middle Boulder Creek. (Town of Nederland photo)

Gary Wockner (formerly Save the Poudre River, Save the Colorado, and now Save the World’s Rivers) is not happy. One of his first “rights of nature” towns, Nederland, with “guardians” appointed, has repealed the resolution because it is being used in ways that could jeopardize the town’s water security. The repeal is a major setback as Nederland was a high profile victory for the movement and the repeal is receiving major coverage in environmental press.

Michael Booth’s report of the controversy provides considerable evidence of the deceptive arguments made to local municipalities by advocates when campaigning for the resolutions. (Colorado Sun May 7, 2024, also Inside Climate News 5-7-24-Kate Surma and NPR Northern Colorado 5-9-24, Michael Lyle)

The so-called guardians said they just provide watershed information and are not policymakers. But Wockner made clear that he “fights dams”, and will do so regardless of the Town of Nederland’s interests or policy preferences. Mayor Giblin was an articulate advocate for the town’s interest in protecting its water rights and option for water storage. He pointed out that Wockner and Save the World’s Rivers filed legal objections against numerous projects, saying “I have major concern with an outside organization fighting to dictate conditions to local communities in our efforts to secure our water rights.”

Several other Colorado towns and cities have adopted or have been solicited to adopt Right of Nature resolutions. They should consider the Nederland experience.


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