Bridging the Divide | AspenTimes.com

Bridging the Divide

Dear Editor:

In the last couple of weeks, there has been a lot of media circulating about the Thompson Divide area, a unique 220,000-acre landscape south and west of the Roaring Fork Valley that is near and dear to the hearts of many citizens valleywide.

As many regional residents are aware, the Thompson Divide area is at a crossroads, with almost half of the acreage in the Divide already leased for oil and gas, along with a pending proposal for unitization for 18 of those 81 leases, covering 32,000 acres of land. As we initiate the hard work of identifying a solution to protect the unique economic, agricultural, recreational, environmental and municipal benefits of the Thompson Divide while respecting property rights and existing uses, members of the Thompson Divide Coalition board want to thank all of those who are standing behind this effort and helping us find these solutions.

First, a huge thank-you to the thousands of people who have signed petitions, attended meetings and events, and continue to volunteer and demonstrate unprecedented support for protection of the Divide. Also, we’d like to extend an enormous thank you to Sens. Bennet and Udall for sending a letter to Secretary Salazar on behalf of the thousands of citizens who care about the Divide, addressing the unitization issue and supporting the efforts of the Coalition.

We would also like to recognize and thank Rep. Tipton for convening a dialogue between the primary leaseholders in the Divide area and members of the coalition – this is a critical step toward identifying solutions for this important landscape. And we want to thank SG interests for coming to the table to talk with us – we recognize what an important action this was, and we look forward to continuing this dialogue over the coming months. We are blessed to live in a community with such active and supportive advocates, and also blessed to have elected officials who are willing to step in and assist us with this incredibly important effort.

Dorothea Farris, vice president

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