Colorado River states near historic deal

May 18, 2023

The three lower basin states of California, Arizona, and Nevada are proposing a plan to voluntarily conserve a major portion of their allocation of Colorado River water in exchange for more than $1 billion in federal funds. The emergency plan is focused on retaining sufficient water levels in both Lake Powell and Lake Mead to ensure that hydropower operations at the sites can continue.

According to reporting by the Washington Post, the three lower basin states are discussing cutting back about 3 million acre-feet of water over the next three years, reductions that will be paid for primarily using funds from the Inflation Reduction Act.

While issues remain, state officials appear more united than ever to finalize a deal on their own before a May 30 deadline after which the federal government will decide how states will cut their water use by 2 to 4 million acre-feet per year, up to one-third of the entire average annual flow. If finalized, a deal would be the culmination of nearly a year of negotiations among the seven Western states that share the Colorado River.

Lawmakers introduce bill to end speculative oil and gas leasing

Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto and Representative Susie Lee reintroduced the End Speculative Oil and Gas Leasing Act of 2023 on Tuesday. The bill would require the Bureau of Land Management to assess the actual oil and gas development potential of BLM lands before any leasing could occur, and would ban future oil and gas leasing on most U.S. public lands that have low or no potential to produce oil. “The BLM is wasting time, money, and resources leasing land to oil and gas companies that we know has little actual potential for development,” said Senator Cortez Masto.

Quick hits

Colorado River states near historic deal

Washington Post | CNN | E&E News

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New York Times

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Conservation leasing could become an option on Wyoming public lands

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Chevron scrambles to prepare Kern County oil fields for flooding

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Renowned nature photographer John Fielder, facing cancer, basks in beauty he helped preserve

Denver Post

Burning Man latest adversary in geothermal feud

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Quote of the day

”For all the skeletons we’ve already found in Big Oil’s closet, in reality we’ve only been looking through the keyhole. There’s this kind of avalanche of discoveries now building that is helping to strengthen, and I think inspire, these cases.”

—Geoffrey Supran, professor of environmental science and policy at the University of Miami, New York Times

Picture this

Drawing of bison

Currently, there is only one wild herd of wood bison in the state. Grow Alaska’s herd by bringing this animal to life using larger-than-life colors. Share your colored page using #ConservationInColor. Download the page #ESA50 Drawing by Jon Eppard

(Featured image: Lake Powell overlook, August 2021. Photo: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Flickr)