All five of Utah's members of Congress met for nearly two hours in yet another effort to work out an agreement on legislation to reauthorize the Central Utah water project.
Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah, said afterward that while they made progress, there was still no meeting of minds, particularly on allocation of stream flows.Garn has said he wants the bill to allow municipal water users to be favored over fish in high and low flow limits, while Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, has held out for flow restrictions that would protect stream fisheries in both high and low water years.
Owens confirmed that he has agreed to drop insistence on a basinwide commission to oversee environmental protection during and after construction of the final CUP features, another bone of contention.
Garn said Thursday that the Republican members have no objection to the commission and other proposed basinwide initiatives, but fear they would make it difficult for the CUP to pass because of opposition from other states.
"If Wayne can get the subcommittee to accept them he is welcome to try," Garn said.
"We are making progress," Owens said, adding, "This is a detailed process. It is taking time."
Rep. Howard Nielson, R-Utah, called Thursday's session worthwhile. Nielson noted that the question of Ute Indian water rights is still unresolved because the Utes have not submitted their proposals.