Velasco: Support for Thompson Divide withdrawal |

Velasco: Support for Thompson Divide withdrawal

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

Agriculture Director Tom Vilsack and Forester Frank Beum:

We represent the diverse people and communities in Colorado’s 57th House District and Colorado’s 5th Senate District. Today, we write on behalf of our constituents to support the proposed administrative withdrawal of the Thompson Divide.

For decades, no single issue has united local communities in and around the Thompson Divide more effectively than the campaign for permanent protection of the area from new mineral leasing and development. The issue has brought together people from different vocations, different walks of life, and different political philosophies.

That broad-based support continues today, as reflected in the huge outpouring of public support BLM received in the recent comment period. Over 60,000 people took the time to send written comment to BLM articulating their support for the proposed administrative withdrawal of Thompson Divide. Supportive comments came from local residents, farmers and ranchers, hunters and fishers, water users, recreationists, wildlife lovers, conservation groups, and thousands upon thousands of other folks from around the country who support protecting the Thompson Divide.

Additionally, many local governments in the districts we represent and adjacent to the Thompson Divide submitted comments requesting a mineral withdrawal for the area. These include Carbondale, Glenwood, Crested Butte, Mt. Crested Butte, Gunnison, Paonia, Pitkin County, and Gunnison County.

Given the unprecedented local support among communities in our districts, this process needs to move quickly and remain a priority for the agencies. We write to ask that you do everything in your power to ensure agency officials have adequate resources to move ahead with and secure an administrative withdrawal for the Thompson Divide.

Elizabeth Velasco

State House District 57 representative

Perry Will

State Senate District 5 senator