Letter: Grand County was well represented during water negotiations
To the Editor:
I have known John Dickinson for over 35 years, and I have always liked him, but like me he too is not always right. It hurt to read that he was critical of the way that Lurline Undebrink Curran represented Grand County in the negotiations with Denver Water and the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District.
The only thing weak about the representation that Grand County had during these negotiations was the position that Colorado water law put them in from the beginning. Denver and Northern own enough water rights in Grand County to legally dry up the headwaters of the Colorado River. Through tenacity and intelligence, Lurline guided Grand County through negotiations that circumvented a legal battle that would have cost us millions of dollars and ended in sure defeat. Though we will never see the flows that our grandparents knew, Grand County has negotiated the assurance that our grandchildren will always see flows in our rivers.
If John feels that Grand County gave up too much in the negotiations, he needed to be in the room when the water diverters were giving up too much in their opinion. It is a mistake to simplify the 10 years of intense negotiations that started completely polarized and ended up in a negotiated compromise by judging them as a failure. I had the good fortune of being guided through the last 10 years of negotiation meetings by Mely Whiting, a National Trout Unlimited attorney who is as tenacious and intelligent as Lurline, and she has had nothing but good to say about the way that Grand County has represented its citizens.
I feel the same way as Mely, but it is her depth of understanding of all the issues that convinces me that we have had exceptional leadership through this process. I think that it is a mistake for any of us to judge the success or failure of Grand County’s negotiations because it will be our grandchildren who will witness the success or failure of what our leadership negotiated for our rivers. I can report that I am now attending meetings were Denver Water and Northern are asking Grand County to take the lead in helping them understand the problems our rivers are facing and to help guide them in projects that will start the healing process for the rivers in Grand County.
If we continue down the road that Lurline has set us on, I feel very strongly that our grandchildren’s generation will refer to her as a West Slope hero. So please, don’t be so quick to judge Lurline’s unbelievable efforts for our rivers. Have some patience, and your grandchildren will let you know how she did.
President, Colorado River Headwaters Chapter of Trout Unlimited
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