We all need to be environmentalists | AspenTimes.com

We all need to be environmentalists

Dear Editor:As a Western Slope resident for almost 30 years, I could not agree more with Silt mayor’s response to fellow Republican Jeff Tipton’s comments on oil and gas development.As reported in the Glenwood Post Independent on Aug. 17 following a Republican luncheon, Mayor Moore has it right. In challenging Mr. Tipton: “… we all need to be environmentalists.” Not just Democrats or Republicans but all of us who live on the Western Slope and love the natural beauty and quality of life that we came here for.This is especially true regarding development of the Roan Plateau and compensation for landowners harmed by oil and gas development. John Salazar is right to oppose development on top of the plateau, Tipton has it wrong. I only wish we could vote on the compensation for landowners question.While I wish Tipton would side with John Salazar and protect the Roan Plateau along with its wildlife habitat, hunting and fishing resources against drilling on top, at the very least he might fly over the region, as many of us have, and observe the failure of energy companies to reclaim the lands damaged by roads and runoff. I don’t think he would be so eager to pattern our development after West Texas or the Middle East if he saw what his vision means for our future.Republicans and Democrats like me support protecting ranchers and families from having their property devastated by companies that take record profits and leave noise, smoke, odors and ruined pastures behind.If energy companies cannot even recover lands in accessible areas like Garfield County, why would anyone trust that development on the coasts and in the National Wildlife Reserve would be accomplished without similar destruction?John Salazar and Dave Moore have learned from our experiences with energy development. I wish Mr. Tipton would join them in protecting property and beautiful hunting and fishing on the Roan.Mick IrelandPitkin County Commissioner