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The Bureau of Land Management announcement last Thursday that it will stubbornly plunge ahead with its original plan to drill on the Roan Plateau comes as a complete slap in the face to Gov. Ritter, our local elected officials, and the people of Western Colorado. This move makes it quite clear that our government is managing our public lands for one single purpose ” extraction. So much for the “multi-use” concept the BLM preaches.

The BLM’s decision completely ignores the will and interest of the majority of the people and their elected officials of Colorado. Gov. Ritter’s modest proposal requested the use of phased leasing, expansion of Areas of Critical Environmental Concern, and use of better technology to minimize surface disturbance.

There is absolutely no need to sacrifice this very special place. The argument that it is needed to meet our nation’s energy needs is completely bogus: The industry has already amassed huge stockpiles of gas leases in Western Colorado, with the Roan being but a tiny island in this vast sea of gas development in the Piceance-Uinta Basin. Almost half of the Roan is already leased and being drilled from private lands. And, as seen from the recent spills on the Roan, there is absolutely no guarantee that wildlife habitat, watersheds and precious cutthroat trout strains on the Roan will survive drilling operations.



With its huge diversity of species, beautiful wild canyons and waterfalls, its abundant wildlife and wild cutthroat trout, the Roan Plateau is a very special place for Colorado. It’s a big part of our Colorado way of life and our state’s natural heritage that must be protected for future generations. Let’s not destroy it for some short-term energy greed.

It is now time for our Congressional delegation to get tough. Please urge Reps. Udall, DeGette and John Salazar, and Sen. Salazar to introduce legislation now to secure lasting protection of the Roan Plateau and its critical wildlife habitat and watersheds before the government moves to lease these lands this summer.



Bob Millette and Maggie Pedersen

Glenwood Springs

President Bush recently spoke to the Economic Club of New York and told them the economy is now having “a tough time.” But don’t worry, said Bush, holder of a Harvard MBA, things are being done that should take care of the problem.

One of those things, suggested by HUD, is to make lenders give better information to borrowers about their loans. (A case of closing the barn door after the horses are out? Texas expression?) What President Bush did not mention can be found in a recent Op-ed in the Washington Post, written by none other than the now ex-governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer. Spitzer wrote:

“In 2003, during the height of the predatory lending crisis, the OCC (Comptroller of the Currency) invoked a clause from the 1863 National Bank Act to issue formal opinions preempting all state predatory lending laws, thereby rendering them inoperative. The OCC also promulgated new rules that prevented states from enforcing any of their own consumer protection laws against national banks. The federal government’s actions were so egregious and so unprecedented that all 50 state attorneys general, and all 50 state banking superintendents, actively fought the new rules.”

In other words, the Bush administration was doing everything it could do, and was successful in preventing any protection of the country’s mortgage borrowers.

Spitzer goes on to say:

“the Bush Administration … will be judged as a willing accomplice to the lenders who went to any lengths in their quest for profits. So willing, in fact, that it used the power of the federal government in an unprecedented assault on state legislatures, as well as on state attorneys general and anyone else on the side of consumers.”

This op-ed was published Feb. 14. Should we believe the subsequent announcement of Spitzer’s indiscretion by the Bush Justice Department was just a coincidence?

Patrick Hunter

Carbondale


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