A water war is brewing on the Yampa River.
A bid by the Shell Exploration and Production Co. for a 15 billion- gallon water right has sparked opposition letters from 25 federal, state and local agencies, along with businesses and environmental groups.
The battle runs from Parker, which is seeking more water amid Front Range suburbs, to Dinosaur National Monument, where National Park Service officials worry that Shell’s plan to divert water for oil-shale development may hurt the park.
Other objections filed with the Steamboat Springs water court came from a coal company, a power company, an agricultural ditch company and Cross Mountain Ranch, a hunting resort.
The Shell application and the opposition letters will be reviewed by the water court, a process that water lawyers say could take a year.
The Shell bid is provoking such a strong reaction because the Yampa is Colorado’s last river with unclaimed water.
The environmental groups filing include the Sierra Club, the Wilderness Society, Trout Unlimited and the Colorado Environmental Coalition.