Letter: Recognize consensus on Thompson Divide | PostIndependent.com

Letter: Recognize consensus on Thompson Divide

I was confused to see that the West Slope Oil and Gas Association is now questioning the existence of the Thompson Divide. To be completely honest, I thought the headline was satirical at first glance. Sadly, it was not satire. It was offensive and it was unhelpful.

Over the last few years, I have spent countless hours participating in the local effort to protect the Thompson Divide. In that time, I have seen a level of community consensus that is all too rare these days. I’ve seen folks from all walks of life – ranchers and mountain bikers, Republicans and Democrats, snowmobile riders and environmentalists – all working together to conserve a unique and special place.

Certainly the industry has also seen this rare level of community consensus, which is why I’m confused by their increasingly combative tone on Thompson Divide. As a community, we’ve worked to find win-win solutions that protect the Thompson Divide from future development. Heck, we’ve even offered to purchase the leases from them.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time that West Slope COGA has made unhelpful assertions. In the past, they’ve tried to label us as “rich Aspen elitist” when we’re really just everyday citizens hoping for say in our own community’s future. They’ve called us “job-killers” when in reality, the only long-term jobs in the Thompson Divide are those that we stand to lose if drilling occurs. Now they’re questioning the existence of the landscape we’re working to protect? None of this is helpful.

If industry really wants to be helpful, it will recognize that there are certain areas where development should not occur — areas that should be left alone. If they want to be helpful, they’ll come back to the drawing board and negotiate with the community to achieve a permanent solution that provides what the Post-Independent described as “a reasonable return — not a killing — on a speculative investment.”

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