A little more than a year ago, Colorado’s public lands were under the watchful eye of an independent agency tasked with ensuring the country’s natural resources are protected.
The agency’s mandate: to safeguard and preserve the region’s iconic cultural and natural beauty, the national parks and forests, and the lands that support them.
But with the federal government increasingly turning its attention to the Great Lakes, Coloradans may soon be forced to confront their own government.
The Trump administration has issued a sweeping order that would require all state and local governments to relinquish their sovereignty over the Great Lake region and the surrounding waterway.
It would also dramatically alter how state and municipal governments manage the Great Basin.
As of today, the Trump administration is not planning to revoke any federal land ownership, according to the Washington Post.
Instead, it’s considering taking ownership of all federal land that is in the Lake basin.
In other words, the land could be stripped of its federally protected status.
The Interior Department issued a brief statement to the press after the announcement.
“The U.S. Department of the Interior recognizes the unique role of the Great River Basin in the fabric of our nation and the Great Plains,” the statement read.
“It is the Department’s intention to ensure the region continues to be protected in the face of changing public policies, including environmental and economic development, and threats from development, mining, and development activity.”
According to the Post, the federal agency has already taken some action on the Lakeland portion of the Lakefront Lands Initiative.
In June, the department awarded a $15 million grant to a private company to purchase land adjacent to the lakefront.
The land would become the largest federal parcel of land that would be designated as a Great Basin watershed.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said the Trump Administration has not yet issued any plans for the Great Creek watershed, which would be part of the lake’s watershed.
But the Department of Interior did release a statement announcing that the Trump Cabinet has also begun drafting a “new Great Basin Great Lakes Restoration Plan” that would focus on “protecting the Great Falls watershed.”
Zinke said his department plans to issue a draft report in the coming weeks that will examine the plan.