10:29am

Sun February 24, 2013
Environment

Colorado Needs Emergency Watershed Protection Says Bennet

Colorado Senator Bennet in Colorado Springs on February 22, 2013.
Credit Anrea Chalfin / KRCC

During a visit to the burned Flying W Ranch in Colorado Springs last week Colorado Senator Michael Bennet says the state’s need for federal resources to support wildfire recovery efforts. 

KRCC's Andrea Chalfin reports on Senator Bennet's visit to Colorado Springs.

Flying W Ranch in Colorado Springs burned to the ground during last year’s Waldo Canyon wildfire. Bennet asserted it was a microchasm of what Colorado communities face as they work to recover from a devastating wildfire season.

Standing in the snow and flanked by local officials, the Colorado Democrat pointed to sediment ponds aimed at reducing flood risk in the Waldo Canyon burn area. Federal funding was stripped from a Superstorm Sandy relief bill last month, and Bennet says it’s important to reinstate that funding to help protect and restore watersheds.

“We have to convince people again that we have had an emergency in Colorado, which we have, and that this 20 million dollars that we’d be investing here now potentially saves us hundreds of millions of dollars, lives, and personal property, but if we don’t invest it now, the opportunity may be lost,” Bennet said.

Bennet said political games have kept the critical funding from reaching the communities that need it. The visit comes as the country teeters on significant budget cuts if Congress doesn’t pass a deficit reduction plan.

“If we don’t deal with these problems now, on the front-end, by mitigating the risk of flooding and protecting our water infrastructure, we’re just going to end up paying more later, and that doesn’t make any sense,” Bennet added.