Senator seeks feedback on Thompson draft bill | AspenTimes.com

Senator seeks feedback on Thompson draft bill

Dear Editor:

The future of Thompson Divide is important to many Coloradans.

Over the past few years, I’ve had several productive meetings with local residents, ranchers, advocacy groups and mineral leaseholders about the future management of this land. While perspectives certainly vary, I remain optimistic we can find a way forward that works for everyone involved.

Earlier this month – at the request of local ranchers, the commissions of Garfield, Pitkin and Gunnison counties and several municipal governments – I posted a draft bill on my website that offers a middle-ground solution for the future management of Thompson Divide.

It presents an option that would withdraw unleased public minerals in the area from future oil and gas development while also preserving valid existing private-property rights of current leaseholders. In essence, the bill would protect some of the most sensitive areas of Thompson Divide while still allowing the permitting process to proceed for companies that have already paid for leases in the area.

I’d like to hear what you think about the bill. During a public comment period, I’m inviting anyone with an interest in the future of Thompson Divide to provide feedback on the bill through my website at http://www.bennet.senate.gov/thompsondivide.

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This draft is a start. Now, your thoughts and input will be critical to improving the bill and determining if we should introduce it in the Senate.

Sen. Michael Bennet

Washington, D.C.

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