Letter: Vets for Thompson Divide
Last month I attended the BLM’s public meeting on a proposal to cancel some of the leases in the heart of the Thompson Divide. The BLM draft decision would honor existing oil and gas operations on the land but halt development on undeveloped leases.
As the Rocky Mountain Director for Vet Voice Foundation, my organization and I have been proactive in advocating for responsible energy development in the area and we believe that in certain areas, oil and gas development can be carried out while protecting the fish and wildlife habitat upon which so many depend on for recreation and healing in the area’s wilderness.
Being able to retreat to the outdoors to heal from our war experience from wars is critical to our survival. I have been witness to the transformational power the Thompson Divide has on a group of veterans I personally guided on a camping trip at Lake Ridge Lake. The further we got from our vehicles the further we got away from the memory of war.
These outdoor areas are part of the American identity we fought to protect in the military. It is our country’s heritage to be able to hike, hunt and fish in the wild regions still left in our nation. It’s important for our future generations to have unspoiled natural spaces to explore, imagine and discover.
Our organization joins the 72 percent of Western voters who, according to the recent Colorado College annual Conservation in the West Poll, say the presence of national public lands helps the economy.
We will continue to advocate for the protection of this area, we want to thank the BLM for the proposed cancellation of these leases and we are hopeful that the final decision on the proposed 65 lease cancellation goes forward.
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