Friday letter: Time for meaningful change
The time has come for us to demand meaningful change
Garfield County’s Board of County Commissioners unanimously voted to betray their constituents on July 6 by funneling $500,000 of public funds through an unelected bureaucrat to finance an oil and gas interest group intent on undermining proposed health and safety measures designed to protect us from dangerous industrial activity.
Not only were the residents of Garfield County not consulted about this massive expenditure — equivalent to the county’s entire emergency reserves for the year 2020 — the residents are also being forced to pay the entire bill for a coalition of 23 local governments, for which it now has spent a mind-boggling $1.5 million. This appears to be a clear abuse of power that undermines the health of communities and depresses private property values.
Perhaps worst of all, the commissioners are using public funds paid to the county by industry for the privilege of operating within Garfield to further oil and gas interests instead of putting them toward services like public safety. Why collect the royalties at all if they are just going to be spent to advance the agenda of operators? Why call it the Oil and Gas “Mitigation” Fund when the money that passes through it is spent to help the industry drill closer to our homes and fill our air with poison and carcinogens?
The time has come for the people of Garfield County to take their power back. The time has come to vote out the commissioners who had the audacity to sell out their community for the sake of corporate interests. The time has come for us to demand meaningful change, including term limits and an expansion of the board of county commissioners from a three-member partisan dictatorship to five-member nonpartisan board. The time has come to demand that our elected leaders demonstrate fiscal responsibility and put their people first.
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