Peak & Prairie
October / November 1998
Colorado Constitution Amendments Endorsements
Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down
The endorsements (or NOT) and text for the Colorado Constitution Amendments that are of concern to the RMC Sierra Club follows: (Editor's note: Please refer to the blue book published each election by the Colorado Legislature which gives pros & cons.)
No on Amendment #13
Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado Constitution requiring the
uniform application of laws to livestock operations, and, in connection therewith,
mandating that laws and regulations concerning livestock operations be uniform and based
upon the similarity in the potential impact on the environment of the livestock operation;
making unconstitutional any state law or regulation that does not treat livestock
operations uniformly based upon the similarity in the potential impact on the environment
of the livestock operation; allowing the General Assembly to make a distinction between
livestock feeding on the range and livestock feeding in a concentrated animal feeding
operation; permitting the General Assembly to make a distinction between concentrated
animal feeding operations that are smaller than one thousand animal units and those that
are larger than one thousand animal units; specifying that one animal unit be considered
to be a cow and all other livestock to be fractions of a cow as determined by the General
Assembly; and defining livestock as cattle, sheep, goats, swine, mules, poultry, horses,
and all other animals raised or kept for profit?
Yes on Amendment #14
Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado Revised Statutes concerning regulation of housed commercial swine feeding operations which can house 800,000 or more pounds of swine or which are deemed commercial under local law, and, in connection therewith, conditioning operation, construction, or expansion or a housed commercial swine feeding operation on receipt of an individual discharge permit from the Department of Public Health and Environment; directing the Water Quality Control Commission to adopt rules regarding the construction, operation, and management of and waste disposal by such operations; providing that such rules shall require that land application of waste from such operations shall not exceed the nutritional requirements of the plants on that land and shall minimize runoff and seepage of such waste; providing that such rules shall require that such operations not be permitted to degrade the physical attributes or value of state trust lands, make immediate reports of spills or contamination to state and county health departments, and monitor land-applied waste from such operations and report thereon to the state health department; authorizing fees on such operations to offset direct and indirect costs of the program; authorizing local governments to impose more restrictive requirements; requiring operations to cover waste impoundments that do not use air or oxygen in their waste treatment method, and to recover, incinerate, or manage odorous gases therefrom; establishing minimum distances between new land waste application sites or impoundments and occupied dwellings, schools, and municipal boundaries; and providing for enforcement of these provisions by the state or any person who may be adversely affected?
No on Amendment #15
Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado Revised Statutes concerning a requirement for the installation of water flow meters on any nonexempt well in the unconfined aquifer in Water Division 3 (which is located in whole or in part in Conejos, Alamosa, Rio Grande, Mineral, Saguache, and Costilia Counties) on or before April 1, 1999, and, in connection therewith, requiring that the water flow meters be certified by the State Engineer; requiring the State Engineer to read the water flow meters monthly at the well owner's expense; and directing the State Engineer to prevent the operation of any well that does not have a functioning water flow meter?
No on Amendment #16
Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado Constitution requiring the Rio Grande Water Conservation District, which is located in whole or in part in Conejos, Alamosa, Rio Grande, Mineral, and Saguache Counties, to pay fees for all water that has been, is being, or will in the future be pumped from aquifers underlying state trust lands pursuant to Water Decree W-3038 in Water Division 3 (including all or part of Conejos, Alamosa, Rio Grande, Mineral, Saguache, and Costilia Counties) for purposes of the "Closed Basin Project,' and, in connection therewith, setting such fees at thirty dollars per acre-foot, payable to the state's public school fund, and ten dollars per acrefoot, payable to the school districts in Water Division 3, based upon the state Department of Education's student count for such districts; directing the State Auditor to determine the amounts of such fees payable each year and requiring payment of such amounts within thirty days after such determination, subject to interest at eighteen percent on late payments; requiring the Rio Grande Water Conservation District to assess those irrigators with water rights in the Rio Grande River, in proportion to their water right, an amount equal to the amount of water used and attributable to the water pumped from beneath such state trust lands; and providing that monies paid to the school districts in Water Division 3 shall be in addition to monies made available for public school children and shall not be considered by the General Assembly when determining such amount?
Hog Farm Amendments, Swine or Not?
by Sandra Eid, Legislative Coordinator
Vote NO Amendment 13
Livestock Protection Act
This constitutional amendment has been proposed and financed by large corporate pork producers seeking to prevent the regulation of hog farms. Amendment 13 requires that all laws and regulations concerning livestock operations be uniform and based upon a similarity in potential impact on the environment. This means that the effect of ALL livestock operations (cattle, sheep, goats, swine, mules, poultry, horses) must be taken into account before ANY livestock operations can be regulated. Since Amendment 13 is a constitutional measure, if passed it will override all conflicting legislation.
Vote YES Amendment 14
Swine Confined Feeding Operations
This statutory amendment has been proposed by farmers, ranchers, and
environmentalists disturbed by the failure of the General Assembly to regulate hog farms.
Amendment 14 requires water pollution control permits for the operation, construction, and
expansion of hog farms; it also requires regulations to reduce odors. Unlike surrounding
states, Colorado has no permit system for hog farms or other concentrated animal feeding
operations (CAFOs). Amendment 14 will protect the state from becoming a dumping ground for
unregulated hog farms. Amendment 14 is a statutory measure; it is more appropriate to
address such an issue by law rather than constitution.
Let your environmental voice be heard in November!