Letter: We won’t give up on Divide
Thanks for covering the meeting that our county commissioners had with Rep. Tipton in January. When I first heard about this meeting, I was excited to hear that our congressman was coming to listen to our community’s concerns, but I left the meeting feeling like he barely listened to a word we said.
I, like many other citizens in the audience showed up to show support for protecting the Thompson Divide from oil and gas leasing, but there wasn’t enough time for more than a handful of us to speak. Those who did get a chance to speak did so elegantly, respectfully and reasonably and spoke in favor of protection.
Rep. Tipton didn’t seem to show any empathy toward our concerns, though, and even defended his position to protect the interests of energy companies over the wishes of our diverse community (note, a large portion of campaign contributions comes from affiliates of SG Interests – source: opensecrets.org). Tipton argues that these leases (on public lands) are the private property of those companies.
The fact that the leases in question in the Thompson Divide were let illegally and many of them should have expired doesn’t seem to bother him, nor budge his position to protect these companies.
Commissioner Jankovski expressed his concerns about Washington not listening to us, and Rep. Tipton’s behavior certainly wasn’t comforting.
But what Tipton needs to see is the diversity of people who are united in this cause, our perseverance, and our ability to come together as a community and create solutions. We’ve been to countless meetings and rallies, submitted comments and letters and spoke at public meetings, and we have the support of local elected officials and a senator.
We don’t appreciate Rep. Tipton calling us environmental extremists. I’m not against oil and gas since I use it myself, but we need to do it right and we don’t need to do it everywhere. I purchase produce and meat grown with water from the Thompson Divide specifically because it comes from a place that is known for its clean water and air, and I won’t stop working to protect it.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
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