Letter: Senators step up for Thompson Divide

As a local business owner, I want to thank Sens. Michael Bennet and Mark Udall for providing the kind of representation we need in Washington, D.C. Our two senators have listened to our concerns and have responded in an effort to conserve Thompson Divide and the vibrant, rural economy it supports.

My family’s business and our way of life rely on the untouched landscape and grazing opportunities that exist within Thompson Divide. But it’s not just me. Thompson Divide provides year-round opportunities for locals and visitors alike to experience and enjoy their public lands — be it hiking, hunting, skiing or fishing.

Hearing our community’s concerns about the potential impacts of oil and gas development in Thompson Divide and understanding the important role Thompson Divide plays in our local economy, Bennet and Udall have sponsored the Thompson Divide Withdrawal and Protection Act. This important piece of legislation aims to protect public lands in the area from future oil and gas development. The bill also provides the framework for a market-based solution to the problem by allowing the opportunity for existing leaseholders to sell or donate their undeveloped minerals in the area.

I’d like to commend Bennet and Udall for their attention to this important, community-based effort, and I encourage your readers to do the same.

Rio Jacober