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Colorado Department of Law — Annual Report 2009 - page 22 / 41

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Colorado Department of Law — Annual Report 2009

  • Achieved victory before the Colorado Supreme Court on behalf of the State Engineer’s Office in decision affirming the State Engineer’s authority to administer storage rights so as to protect vested water rights from injury.

  • Assisted the Colorado Water Conservation Board, the State Land Board, Colorado Department of Transportation, Department of Corrections, the Division of Wildlife, Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation, and the Colorado Historical Society in acquiring new water rights and protecting existing water rights.

  • Successfully obtained instream flow decrees for the Colorado Water Conservation Board, including appropriations in Water Divisions 1, 2, 5 and 6.

  • Provided representation for more than 200 cases for the Colorado Water Conservation Board encompassing all seven water court divisions.

  • Continued an in-depth, long-term analysis of Colorado State Parks’ water rights in order to create a comprehensive inventory of ground and surface water rights owned, leased or used at each of the State’s 45 parks. The inventory will then be used to identify potential water right issues, determine which areas need additional water rights, and which water rights need protection or development.

  • Successfully prosecuted enforcement actions against illegal water diverters in all seven water divisions to protect vested water rights holders from injury caused by illegal diversions.

  • Assisted the Tort Litigation Unit in defending takings claims brought against the State Engineer as a result of his enforcement actions against entities pumping in violation of the State Engineer’s Orders.

  • Undertook several rulemakings for the Colorado Ground Water Commission. Successfully defended Management District rules against appellate challenge.

  • Assisted the Colorado Water Conservation Board in the Chatfield Reallocation Project, a $125 million water storage project designed to increase water availability in the South Platte River Basin. Worked with the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation to

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identify concerns with the reallocation based on its dual role as project participant and the operator of Chatfield State Park.

Oil, Gas and Minerals

In 2009, attorneys:

  • Assisted and advised the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and its staff on implementation of extensive rules and regulations promulgated by the Commission.

  • Won numerous procedural motions for the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission in a district court challenge to rules and regulations promulgated by the Commission.

  • Represented the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission in a lawsuit concerning the process for the thousands of applications for permits to drill wells the Commission receives annually.

  • Advised the Department of Natural Resources on oil shale issues and continued to participate in federal, state, and local team meetings regarding regulation of oil shale development.

  • Drafted for the Division of Reclamation, Mining, and Safety proposed rules and regulations for prospecting and uranium mining operations. Presented such proposed regulations to the Mined Land Reclamation Board for its consideration. Advised the Division on numerous issues concerning the proposed regulations, and led discussions on the proposed regulations during eight months of stakeholder meetings.

State and Trust Lands

In 2009, attorneys:

  • Advised on and facilitated in the acquisition by the Division of Wildlife of more than $20 million dollars in real property interests, both fee title and conservation easements, that protect and preserve critical wildlife habitat throughout Colorado. Acquisitions were funded by federal fish and wildlife aid, state hunting and fishing license fee

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