Oil and gas has its limits | AspenTimes.com

Oil and gas has its limits

Dear Editor:

Thanks to Sens. Bennet and Udall for standing up for the public interest!

Industry claims the public should have no role in approval of the Lake Ridge Unit in the Thompson Divide. That claim isn’t supported by the regulations or common sense. BLM regulation says a unit shall be approved if the authorized officer determines it is “necessary or advisable in the public interest.”

Industry would like you to believe that the “public interest” is satisfied by drilling, but that’s just ludicrous. According to the Webster’s New World Dictionary, “public interest” means “the people’s general welfare and well being; something in which the populace as a whole has a stake.”

Sure, drilling is necessary for our general welfare; we all depend on it. But that doesn’t mean that it should take place everywhere. For example, it may not be in the public interest to drill in school yards, residential areas, critical wildlife habitat, municipal watersheds, developed recreation areas or in our few remaining roadless lands. Of course, industry wants to foreclose any debate on the issue. They want to avoid public process at all costs – even if it means making absurd arguments that contravene common sense and make them look like bad actors in the public eye. By all accounts, industry is going to be a player in western Colorado’s economy for a long time. It is time for them to start acting like good neighbors rather than trying to circumvent a healthy public dialogue and transparent public process.

Cheers to Bennet and Udall for standing up for the public interest!

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Kate Hart

Grand Junction