Letter: A strong statement by Sen. Udall | AspenTimes.com

Letter: A strong statement by Sen. Udall

A strong statement by Sen. Udall

On behalf of the Pitkin Board of County Commissioners, I wish to express Pitkin County's sincere gratitude to Sen. Udall for his role in signing on as co-sponsor of Sen. Bennet's "Thompson Divide Withdrawal and Protection Act," intended to permanently protect the Thompson Divide area from future oil and gas development within its public lands.

As did Sen. Bennet, Sen. Udall met with the stakeholders to gain a better understanding of the economic and environmental concerns. He reviewed the recent economic analysis highlighting the users of the Thompson Divide, including ranchers and recreationalists, hunters and fisherman, supporting approximately 300 long-term sustainable jobs and infusing nearly $30 million per year into the local economy. He understands that, in our valley, it's our environment which drives our economy and not the other way around. He recognizes there are some special and unique places on our public lands that should not be disturbed by oil and gas exploration: Thompson Divide is one such place.

Through co-sponsoring this act, Sen. Udall underscores broad and diverse support from the Thompson Divide Coalition, community members and business owners, elected officials throughout the Roaring Fork Valley, Crystal River Valley and Gov. Hickenlooper. Pitkin County continues to work with the Thompson Divide Coalition and will assist Sen. Udall and Sen. Bennet in any way we can to ensure this act is signed into law as soon as possible. I encourage Rep. Scott Tipton to join in with our Colorado senators and his constituents as well and endorse the Thompson Divide Withdrawal and Protection Act.

George Newman

Chair, Pitkin Board of County Commissioners