House takes up CORE Act despite Tipton’s opposition | AspenTimes.com

House takes up CORE Act despite Tipton’s opposition

Thomas Phippen
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
The Thompson Divide area west of Carbondale in winter, as seen from an EcoFlight flyover.
EcoFlight/ courtesy photo

Rep. Tipton's full statement on the CORE Act:

“A public lands bill that primarily impacts Colorado’s 3rd District should include broad stakeholder support from the 3rd District. The CORE Act does not adequately incorporate reasonable changes or input from around the 3rd District to receive broad local consensus nor bipartisan support that has typically been the driving force behind successful public lands legislation in Colorado.  Many impacted communities and stakeholders in the 3rd District have not been included in the creation of the CORE Act, and the result is an unbalanced effort. I believe we would be in a much different place on the CORE Act if enough outreach had occurred, and if the process had been more inclusive and incorporated ideas important to many communities in the 3rd District.  I plan to continue to engage with the Colorado delegation and my constituents on working towards legislation that reflects the interests of the entire 3rd District.” 

-- Rep. Scott Tipton

As a bill that could provide protections for the Thompson Divide nears a vote in Congress, Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colorado, said he can’t support it in its current form.

The CORE Act cleared a procedural hurdle Tuesday when the House of Representatives voted to consider a package of lands bills later this week.

Tipton, who represents Colorado’s 3rd District, voted against bringing the CORE Act to the floor. He said in a statement that the bill “does not adequately incorporate reasonable changes or input from around the 3rd District.”

“Many impacted communities and stakeholders in the 3rd District have not been included in the creation of the CORE Act, and the result is an unbalanced effort. I believe we would be in a much different place on the CORE Act if enough outreach had occurred, and if the process had been more inclusive and incorporated ideas important to many communities in the 3rd District,” Tipton said in the statement.

In addition to the Thompson Divide language, the CORE Act also protects 61,000 acres in the San Juan Mountains, preserves 100,000 acres of wilderness, recreation and conservation areas along the Continental Divide in the White River National Forest, and formally establishes the boundary for the Curecanti National Recreation Area near Gunnison.

Tipton voted against bringing the CORE Act to the floor because of ongoing concerns about the process, according to spokesman Matthew Atwood. The House Rules Committee put a deadline for submitting amendments to the CORE Act, and would not open the bill to amendments when it reached the floor.

“He would have preferred an open rule bill which would have allowed for him to reintroduce his amendments on the House floor and perhaps get the concerns he’s received from across the district addressed before the vote took place,” a spokesman for Tipton’s office said in a statement.

Tipton submitted 11 amendments before the deadline, but only three were taken up.

One of Tipton’s amendments that will be considered by the House would ensure grazing permitted at the time of enactment may continue in Thompson Divide.

Proponents of the Thompson Divide language say that the bill’s text already preserves grazing rights.

One of Tipton’s amendments that was not taken up to be considered by the House related to the Thompson Divide language.

Tipton submitted an amendment that Thompson Divide protections would not take effect “until the Department of Interior has certified to Congress that all leaseholders in the area have been adequately compensated for any relinquished leases.”

Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Arizona, submitted an amendment that would have made Thompson Divide protections conditional to Garfield County commissioners’ formal approval, but that amendment was not taken up to be considered.

Tipton wants a bill that “better reflects the interests” of his district, Atwood said.

Despite the opposition to the current version of the CORE Act, Atwood said Tipton was confident that if it passes the House, the Senate could amend the bill.

Tipton also has his own lands bill, the Colorado REC Act, though an initial discussion draft of that bill did not include Thompson Divide protections.

The CORE Act is scheduled for a floor vote Thursday.

tphippen@postindependent.com


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