Thompson Divide Coalition highlighted in report |

Thompson Divide Coalition highlighted in report

Staff Report

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — The work of the Thompson Divide Coalition, an area organization trying to keep oil and gas drilling out of a region near here, is being highlighted by the State of the Rockies Project Report, an 11-year-old, annual research project conducted by students, faculty and staff at Colorado College in Colorado Springs.

The annual report offers information about a variety of issues and concerns regarding the environmental and economic health of the Rocky Mountains.

"We strive to inform stakeholders about critical regional issues" and to "encourage dialogue and collaborative action to protect and nurture the Rockies," according to the mission statement on the Colorado College website.

Brendan Boepple, assistant director of the State of the Rockies Project, said on Tuesday that the TDC is to figure prominently in the ongoing research project, which goes by the title, "Large Landscape Conservation in the Rockies."

The current project started in June, Boepple said, and is an effort by the project's personnel in "trying to highlight some of the unique efforts out there."

As part of the report's outreach, State of the Rockies Project on Tuesday issued a five and a half minute video describing the Thompson Divide region and the effort to prevent oil and gas companies from drilling there. It features remarks from such local participants as Carbondale rancher Bill Fales, former Garfield County Commissioner Trési Houpt, and outfitter Randy Melton. The video can be viewed online at

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The Thompson Divide is a 220,000-acre section of the Western Slope southwest of Glenwood Springs where oil and gas leases in various states of readiness are pending.

Drilling opponents maintain that the area forms a critical part of the established local economy, providing recreational, ranching and water resources that would not be able to coexist with energy exploration and extraction.

"The Thompson Divide Coalition is honored to receive the attention of a nationally respected program such as the State of the Rockies Project," said Zane Kessler, executive director of the Thompson Divide Coalition, in a written statement.

Boepple said the full State of the Rockies Project Report is due out in the spring, and will contain separate reports about the TDC effort as well as the work of other groups in the region.