News Nuggets, 19 August 2009: Chaffee County gave away the water

Dug up fresh, daily.

AWAY WENT THE WATER: The good news is that citizens made a stand. The bad news is that today they lost. Chaffee County commissioners, who ran on pledges they would guard the county’s precious water, voted to allow giant Nestle corporation to drain 200 acre feet of fresh spring water annually from the area around Buena Vista in the upper Arkansas River Basin. That’s the equivalent of the amount of water used by 700 homes.

Citizens and county consultants agree that environmental tests Nestle ran were inadequate. They argue the siphoning could devastate area wetlands. This afternoon, after months of anticipation and deliberation and citizen concern, the commissioners voted unanimously 3-0 in favor of Nestle. The company will now have license to harvest 65 million gallons of water from an aquifer at the mouth of Brown’s Canyon. It will pipe the precious cargo four miles to Johnson Village and truck it from there to Denver, from whence it will be sold in supermarkets, corner stores and yoga studios as Arrowhead bottled water. Kah-ching. Nestle just made a trillion dollars. What did Chaffee County or you get out of the deal?

BACKSEAT BUDGETMAKER: You think you can do better at balancing the budget than the beleaguered representatives we all like to mock as spendthrift bureaucrats? Of course you do. But it ain’t easy to balance this state’s budget. In fact, it’s a challenge, kinda like Grand Theft Auto. That’s right, try your hand online. Balancing the Colorado budget is now an online kind of computer game. Ask your kids or nieces and nephews for a hand.

BIRTHER INVASION: look around you. Did you know that in Colorado 2/3rds of Republican voters are not sure whether Obama was born in the United States? Just 58 percent of voters overall in the state will say for sure that they think Obama was born in the country. Then again, 3 percent of the state’s adult population also believes that Hawaii is a foreign land. They surround us.

PLANETS COLLIDE: If you haven’t seen it yet, Massachusetts U.S. Rep. Barney Frank has had enough, demonstrating for all the world via YouTube that sometimes, even in contemporary American politics, enough is enough.

ACCESS JOURNALISM: It’s great. You get to speak face to face with lawmakers and their staffers. They answer your calls. You get to be all close and cozy. You just develop crushes on them. It’s fun. You come to write things like this.

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