We recently held our organizational meeting in the Natural Resources Committee, which gave members an opportunity to discuss their priorities for the next two years and vote on committee rules and procedures.

U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton
U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton

Since arriving in Congress, much of my focus has been on the many natural resources issues that impact the Third Congressional District on a daily basis. Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop has a deep understanding of these issues, and I am looking forward to working with him to get some of our district’s priorities over the finish line.

These priorities include bills like the Water Rights Protection Act, the Healthy Forest Management and Wildfire Prevention Act and the Planning for American Energy Act, which are all bills I am looking forward to re-introducing in the 115th Congress.

Water policy is a critical issue for Colorado. The farming and ranching community, the ski industry and countless others rely on Colorado’s precious water for their livelihoods. In the 114th Congress, I fought the federal government’s attempts to circumvent state water law with the Water Rights Protection Act. Language from the bill passed the House three times last Congress, and I am hopeful that we’ll see the bill signed into law in the next year.

The bark beetle epidemic has destroyed more than 2.9 million acres in Colorado and put our forests at high risk for catastrophic wildfires. We must do more to actively manage and protect our forests. I was pleased that language from my bill, the Healthy Forest Management and Wildfire Prevention Act, passed the House as part of the Resilient Federal Forests Act last Congress. This bill passed the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry in September 2016, but unfortunately, it was not brought to the Senate floor for a vote before the session ended. I am hopeful we will see this bill signed into law during the 115th Congress, so the state of Colorado will be able to better protect its communities from devastating wildfires on National Forest System lands.

We’re blessed in Colorado to have abundant natural resources, open spaces and scenic beauty. In the Third District, our energy portfolio includes traditional energy resources like natural gas, oil and clean coal, as well as renewable sources like wind, solar, hydropower, and geothermal energy. I firmly believe that we must implement an all-of-the-above energy strategy, which I outlined in the Planning for American Energy Act. This bill has passed the House twice, and I am looking forward to working on policies to advance responsible domestic energy production as a member of the Subcommittee on Mineral and Energy Resources.

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As Bishop said during our organizational meeting, during the next few months, our focus will be on analyzing and developing infrastructure proposals that fall within the committee’s jurisdiction and lowering the regulatory burden that so many of our families, small businesses and communities face.

We have important work in front of us, and I hope to hear from you along the way. Please don’t hesitate to share your feedback, thoughts or concerns with me and my team. You can write to us through my website, tipton.house.gov, or call us at any of our offices.

Congressman Scott R. Tipton represents Colorado’s Third District. He serves on the House Committee on Financial Services and the House Committee on Natural Resources. He is vice-chairman of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. Tipton is the executive vice-chairman of the Congressional Western Caucus and co-chairman of the Congressional Small Business Caucus.