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County needs leadership

Post Independent Writer

This year’s Garfield County commissioner race is hotly contested, with election consequences looming large. With a desire for economic growth and burgeoning industrial development, the dynamic future of our county is within range and the time for decision is now. Based on our electoral choice, we will either proactively transition, turning imminent change to our advantage, or continue to largely flounder in our resistance to see all that is heading our way and already upon us. Given these high stakes, I hope to see a county meeting the future head on, with transition plans and mechanisms to facilitate positive change – embracing it, not being embraced by it. Two years ago, the western end of our county faced widespread, rapid natural gas development. As local landowners, small communities and developers were set upon by the dramatic upset of broad and unanticipated impacts, I presented a nine-page letter to commissioners outlining concern. Only Trési Houpt acknowledged this outreach effort, responding immediately with interest to seek solutions. Subsequent to that day we continue to experience impacts, the last of which have culminated in the Divide Creek Gas Seep. While Tresi has made concerted efforts to learn more about this situation’s potential, Greg Jeung personally visited the area this summer, and Keith Lambert shared with me an extensive conversation regarding the nature of industrial development. I have yet to receive the benefit of such interest from either John Martin or Larry McCown, who seem comfortable with the devolving state of this important issue.The economic gain from the industrial potential of natural gas development is too great to turn away from, and to allow to run rampant over other interests equally vital to the long-term financial sustainability of our beloved valley. These intense times, with their boom lure of fast money, require leadership with vision, a desire to seek balanced developmental solutions and a willingness to see the bigger picture, not simply a focus on short-term revenues. Regardless of your location in our county, impact of natural gas development reaches each of us in our homes, places of recreation, and businesses. The current county leadership partisan majority has taken an overwhelmingly hands-off approach to the promise and reality of this activity, which, in areas of concentrated development, has led to turbulent and contentious relationships between landowners, some among the business community as well as industry, culminating in frustration toward county leaders. This opportunity can become one of genuine benefit but requires commissioners with moxie to take a long, hard, honest look at the big picture and invest the hours it takes to work on behalf of our diverse county population. The kind of commissioner who, like Trési, is willing to lead; willing to work toward solutions; willing to create mechanisms for positive transition. Based on their community involvement and lateral and visionary leadership, Jeung and Lambert have demonstrated consistent willingness and capability to do exactly that, and because of it, they each have my thanks, my faith and my vote.Lisa Bracken is a resident of Silt.


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