Guest commentary: CORE Act important to Western Slope despite new representative’s U.S. House vote
The Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act passed through the House of Representatives on Friday thanks to leadership from Colorado Rep. Joe Neguse and co-sponsorship from representatives Diana Degette, Ed Perlmutter and Jason Crow.
Last fall, 111 Colorado elected officials, including the Pitkin County commissioners and other elected officials in our valley, signed on to a letter of support for the CORE Act. The act was originally introduced by Rep. Neguse and Sen. Michael Bennet in 2019. This year, they have continued the effort and are now joined in advancing it by Sen. John Hickenlooper. The CORE Act has passed the House with bipartisan support now three times, yet it has never made it to the Senate floor.
The act includes protection for 400,000 acres of Colorado’s public land. Of that, nearly 80,000 acres are new recreation and conservation management areas that preserve existing outdoor uses. In addition, it includes a first-of-its-kind National Historic Landscape at Camp Hale to honor Colorado’s military legacy and the history of Colorado’s 10th Mountain Division.
Our representative in the 3rd Congressional District, Lauren Boebert, opposed the bill. In her remarks, Rep. Boebert claimed that local elected officials in our congressional district do not support the CORE Act. Of course, that is simply untrue. The CORE Act has wide bipartisan support from many Colorado counties, towns and cities; the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel and other editorial boards; the state of Colorado; and two-thirds of all Western Slope residents.
Every county with land in the bill approves of their components of the bill. Rep. Boebert acknowledged that she was new, so perhaps she has not had time to read and comprehend the breadth of local support for the act. This admission should be a wake-up call for Rep. Boebert and for her constituents who depend upon, and should demand, informed and thoughtful leadership.
According to the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, Colorado’s outdoor recreation industry generates $28 billion in consumer spending each year and supports 229,000 jobs — these numbers will only increase with the passage of the CORE Act in the Senate. As a Colorado District 3 local elected official and constituent, I look forward to the CORE Act passing due to strong local support and leadership from Sens. Bennet and Hickenlooper.
Greg Poschman is a Pitkin County commissioner and can be reached at 970-309-7997. He submitted this piece along with Sonja Macys, Steamboat city councilor.
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