BoCC demands Congress response on N. Delta grazing

By Hank Lohmeyer


The Board of County Commissioners wants to see some congressional interest in grazing restrictions being proposed on public lands north of Delta.

The BoCC has put an exclamation point to its recent comments opposing grazing cutbacks proposed by the BLM.

The congressmen had received copies of the BoCC's original letter, but on Monday commissioner Doug Atchley noted that no replies had been received.

The county submitted its highly critical, two-page letter by the Sept. 24 deadline for comments on a 177-page BLM preliminary environmental assessment for nine North Delta grazing allotments. The county letter cited issues in range management science, the livestock industry's importance to the county, and physical evidence in making its case that animal unit cutbacks in the area would be "excessive."

The commissioners on Monday directed county administrator Robbie LeValley to resend copies of their comment letter to this area's three congressional representatives: Scott Tipton, Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner, and to specifically ask for replies explaining what the elected officials are going to do.

Speaking for Commissioners Mark Roeber and Bruce Hovde who confirmed they were in complete agreement, Atchley said, "This board has always felt strongly, and has always advocated multiple use" on public lands. Atchley added the BLM's proposed cuts in grazing "are arbitrary and capricious."

LeValley was also instructed to send the commissioners' comment letter directly to Barb Sharrow, manager of the BLM's Uncompahgre Field Office.

In other business at its Oct. 19 regular meeting the Board of County Commissioners dealt with the following matters:

• A jail census revealed 44 total in the detention and work release facilities. The average census the previous week was 51.

• The commissioners rejected all five bids for a District #1 road department loader because the bids did not account for trade-in value of a county loader. The loader will be rebid. The county has budgeted $242,000 for the equipment.

• The commissioners approved a lease agreement for a Colorado State Patrol office in the courthouse. The 95-square-foot office will cost the state $1,356 for a year's tenancy.

• Commissioners welcomed John Baier back on board as assistant county attorney following about a year and a half absence from the position.

• Commissioners met in executive session with county attorney Jin Ho D. Pak to discuss four items of business: the Huffington property, House Bill 1041, contracts and mining permits and an additional item for "library oversight."