New Federal Clean Water Rule Puts Expensive Onus on Colorado

Colorado and other Western states will be hard-pressed to shield their rivers and streams under a new federal Clean Water Act rule finalized last month, largely because hundreds of shallow Western rivers are no longer protected, and writing new state laws and finding the cash to fill the regulatory gap will likely take years, officials said.

Though many agricultural interests and water utilities support the new Waters of the U.S. rule, as it is known, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser and Patrick Pfaltzgraff, director of the state’s Water Quality Control Division, said they will take legal action to protect streams that are no longer subject to federal oversight.