Letter: Thompson Divide is not a partisan issue. It is a community issue | PostIndependent.com

Letter: Thompson Divide is not a partisan issue. It is a community issue

Protecting the Thompson Divide from new oil and gas leasing has a long history of support in our community. During my eight-year tenure as a Glenwood Springs City Council member we reiterated our support for the Thompson Divide Coalition and legislative protections for the Thompson Divide several times.

The Thompson Divide issue still garners overwhelming support from affected municipalities and counties. The towns of Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, Paonia and Crested Butte, as well as Garfield, Pitkin and, Gunnison counties all continue to support the legislative withdrawal as proposed in Title III of the CORE Act.

Rep. Scott Tipton’s proposed REC Act, recently released as a discussion draft that has not yet been introduced in Congress, would protect thousands of acres of public land in Colorado. But it leaves Thompson Divide out. That is not acceptable to our community. We remain unified for Thompson Divide, and we will continue to push on this issue until the Divide gets the permanent protection it deserves. The Divide is critical to our livelihoods and local economy.

In addition to my support of the Thompson Divide sequestration from further development, I and my family made the decision to place our high mountain property, the Lazy V Quarter Circle Ranch of 640 acres, into a wildlife conservation easement. Our property is at the North boundary of the Thonpson Divide area as defined in Sen. Michael Bennet’s Core act. We would strongly urge Rep. Tipton to support the Core Act, and to include the Thompson Divide in his REC act.

Mr. Tipton, if you are reading this, my message is: You are our representative, and it is the will of your constituents to protect this place. This is not a partisan issue. It is a community issue. Please listen to us, your constituents, and work with us to permanently protect the Thompson Divide. Title III of the CORE Act is the result of years of stakeholder engagement, collaboration and compromise. It has broad-based support from local communities. The hard work has been done. I urge you to work with the rest of the Colorado delegation and make sure it is passed into law.

With the hope that you will work with all of us to protect and preserve the Thompson Divide, I am sincerely,

Stephen Bershenyi
Glenwood Springs

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