No drilling on Thompson Divide | AspenTimes.com

No drilling on Thompson Divide

The following letter was originally sent to the elected legislators and representatives of Colorado’s Third Congressional District:

Dear Editor:

My wife and I have been married for just over a year now and after an astonishingly brief attempt, conceived our first child about three months ago. My wife, a native of Boulder, is a self-employed and locally respected massage therapist. I, an army-brat born in Colorado Springs‚ Fort Carson, moved back to Colorado 10 years ago last month to teach in a public middle school. I now serve a local nonprofit working with at-risk youth in four counties along Colorado’s Western Slope. We are honest, voting, tax-paying, responsibly contributing members of our community.

We understand the decisions you make every day are weighed with unrelenting compromise. We recognize the considerations necessary to choose one thing over another is a complex affair. The concept of the “greater good” is not one that escapes us. We are sensitive to what is going on in this country, and accept that the decisions our legislators make are not without sacrifice. However, we trust that in your heart of hearts, you have the foresight to see what others have missed – an urgent need to preserve the very last of unspoiled wilderness remaining in Colorado’s majestic Rockies.

Specifically, we ask that emergency legislation be passed to repeal the 81 gas leases on federal lands outside of Carbondale including: the Thompson and Four Mile Creek watersheds, Muddy Basin, Coal Basin and the headwaters of East Divide Creek. The voting citizens of the Third Congressional District recently held a meeting to discuss the impending oil and gas development of Thompson Divide, and citizen after citizen stood up to explain how they would be directly impacted by such a short-sighted endeavor. It is without question an irreversibly negligent blunder.

Ranching, tourism, recreation, hunting, fishing – these are the livelihoods of the people who have lived here for generations. The scars of energy development are ever increasing along the I-70 corridor from Glenwood Springs to Grand Junction. The long-term effect on the sustainability of local communities is beyond reproach. You know better than I how the health of ecosystems, wildlife and human populations become ravaged by this insidious industry.

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The Thompson Divide Coalition (TDC) urges those who can make a difference to move quickly in the defense of impending tragedy on these lands. It is not an over-estimation to describe these 221,500 acres as a national treasure, renowned for its pristine habitat, crystal clean waters and productive ranch lands. Majestically perched on the edge of Carbondale, where my wife and I call home, the Thompson Divide constitutes the headwaters for uncontaminated rivers and streams I hope to one day see my unborn child kayak and swim without fear of harmful chemicals leached into the watershed.

The TDC has made a commitment to examining every possible solution to prevent future drilling on Thompson Divide, including compensating the federal government for these leases. Our coalition is steadfast in our pledge to preserve these lands reasonably, rationally, and with all parties‚ best interests in mind. We simply ask for our elected legislators and representatives to quickly become engaged in this discussion before our backyards, aquifers and community livelihoods are irretrievably spoiled forever. Please contact our friends and neighbors at http://www.savethompsondivide.org today.

Evan M. Zislis

Carbondale