Letter: Keep Thompson Divide as it is for future generations
For 10 years, ranchers, hunters, recreationists, land managers, municipalities, county commissioners and lease holders have worked together to use the local, state and federal governance process to come up with creative solutions that respected all stakeholders, existing rights and properties in the Thompson Divide. This resulted in a 20-year moratorium on new oil and gas leasing, and cancellation of 18 incomplete leases for credit. The Thompson Divide Coalition felt we had made real gains and that all stakeholders had a say in the process and were fairly compensated.
The CORE Act, which includes the Thompson Divide Withdrawal and Protection Act, is our best chance to permanently protect the Divide, and it is the next logical step to fulfill the Thompson Divide Coalition’s original mission. I was disappointed that the Garfield County commissioners recently got cold feet when asked one last time to support the Thompson Divide. I am proud of how much support we have from all community stakeholders, especially after seeing the unanimous support from the city council’s of Carbondale and Glenwood Springs. In addition, Pitkin and Gunnison, the other two counties in the Thompson Divide area, support and advocate for the CORE Act.
I thank Sen. Michael Bennet and Rep. Joe Neguse for introducing the CORE Act and I hope that Sen. Cory Gardner and Rep. Scott Tipton will honor our long tradition of collaboration by working together to support the Thompson Divide in the CORE Act.
As a mother and grandmother in a family spanning six generations in western Colorado, I am looking to the future and how young people will be able to plan sustainable business and ranching operations if the Thompson Divide is only protected from leasing in the short term. This ask for permanent protection is not something we want to kick down the road. The Thompson Divide is the chockstone that holds together habitat, wildlife, water, ranching and recreational resources in this three-county region. Nothing is restricted besides new gas leases, and we ask only that we can keep it as it is for future generations.