Letter: Schwartz will fight to protect our lands | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Schwartz will fight to protect our lands

I care deeply about the public lands that we all, as Americans, own and that form the backbone of Colorado’s large recreation economy. You should, too. Gail Schwartz is clearly the only choice in the 2016 race for Congress who will stand up for “we the people” of the Western Slope and our public lands. She understands the value of a balanced approach to the use of public lands, including grazing, recreation, habitat preservation, and energy and mineral exploration. Her opponent, Congressman Scott Tipton, does not. Tipton believes that our treasured public lands should be sold off to the highest bidder.

Gail will fight to prevent selling off our lands to the highest bidder. She knows the land belongs to us. It’s part of our Western heritage and our quality of life, and it’s a huge part of our economic future.

Colorado’s Outdoor Recreation Industry accounts for nearly $35 billion, supporting 350,000 jobs. Most of that is right here on the Western Slope. Skiing, hunting, fishing, hiking and myriad other outdoor pursuits depend on public lands. But recreation isn’t the only thing that benefits from public lands. Ranchers rely on it for grazing. These lands are also valuable for appropriate energy and mineral extraction. Public lands are also vital in supplying our single most valuable resource, water.

I’m not opposed to all drilling and mining, and neither is Gail. She supports an “all-of-the-above” approach to energy, in which clean, affordable renewable energy is part of the mix. Also, we have great potential to produce renewable energy right here, another boon for our diverse local economy.

We cannot jeopardize our public lands for short-term profit. Vote for Gail Schwartz for Congress. Gail will make sure our public lands economy thrives. It’s our heritage and the greatest legacy we can leave for our kids.

Paula Fothergill

Glenwood Springs

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