Stand up to gas development | AspenTimes.com

Stand up to gas development

Dear Editor:

It is time for everyone to become engaged in the discussion of natural-gas drilling in the Roaring Fork Valley. If you didn’t have an opportunity to read Scott Condon’s article in Thursday’s Aspen Times and Glenwood Post Independent, then please check it out online.

SG Interests and Encana have leases to produce natural gas on public lands in the Thompson Divide region that includes Four Mile Creek and Thompson Creek as well as portions of the Muddy Basin, the Coal Basin and the headwaters of East Divide Creek. Both are talking about moving ahead with staking and submitting applications to drill to the Bureau of Land Management. If they take these steps, the BLM will discuss how they can drill, not if they can drill.

The Thompson Divide Coalition has been engaged in formal dialogue with our congressional delegation, Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar and the industry about retiring the leases in the Thompson Divide region through legislation, industry withdrawal and/or the purchase of the leases from the industry. Because negotiations are continuing, if SG Interests and Encana move forward with staking and submitting applications to drill, their actions will be in conflict with the intent of ongoing discussions.

Please attend a Thompson Divide Coalition town hall meeting this week; they will be held in Carbondale, Redstone, Glenwood Springs and Aspen.

This is the time for all of us to get involved. If applications to drill are approved, it will be too late to protect lands that are important for agriculture, recreation, hunting, fishing and wildlife range. We also need to be concerned about water-quality and traffic impacts. Hundreds of trucks will travel through Glenwood Springs daily if drilling occurs up Four Mile and in the Thompson Creek area. Because Grand Avenue is already congested, many business owners recognize the direct impacts such activity will have on their bottom line.

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Please join your neighbors in support of the Thompson Divide Coalition’s efforts to keep

natural-gas development out of the Roaring Fork Valley.

Tresi Houpt

Glenwood Springs