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Commissioners hear feedback on BLM plan

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On Monday, the Board of County Commissioners were visited by two constituents from Paonia who expressed concerns about inadequacies they see in the Bureau of Land Management's Draft Resource Management Plan (DRMP) document.

Mary DiFranco and Susan Friar told commissioners there are "unanswered questions" in the BLM's plan document. They said they see "no protections for the North Fork" against impacts of hydraulic fracking in oil and gas exploration operations provided by the DRMP. The DRMP document is the BLM's proposed 20-year public lands management plan for the Uncompahgre Field Office area.

County commission chair Bruce Hovde explained the county's official comments on the DRMP document, which were submitted on Nov. 1, included an emphasis on dealing with individual oil and gas leasing proposals using current regulatory processes, and on a "site specific" process. The commissioners believe that dealing with oil and gas leasing on a parcel-by-parcel basis provides better protections than dealing with them on a one-size-fits-all, rangewide basis in the DRMP document. The commissioners have expressed a similar view on other issues including recreation and grazing as part of their multiple use-based approach to public lands management.

DiFranco and Friar delivered a box which they said was filled with hard copy letters expressing concerns about and opposing hydraulic fracturing in the North Fork.

"We have received many emails as well as letters" on the DRMP document, Hovde said.

On a separate matter, another North Fork area constituent, JoAnn Kalenak, told the commissioners she intends to begin paying closer attention to local government. "I believe the country is in trouble," she said. She added that the political parties and the media have failed, and "the American people have failed themselves." Rather than wringing her hands, Kalenak said she wants to be more involved. She suggested the county provide more detail on the BoCC's business meeting agendas.

In answer to a specific question by Kalenak, county administrator Robbie LeValley explained that an action plan would be developed for the master plan rewrite process. LeValley said public sessions on the rewrite could be completed by mid-2017. LeValley had previously stated a schedule of public hearings would be released when it has been developed.

In other business at the Delta County Commissioners' regular Nov. 23 meeting, the following matters were dealt with:

• Commissioners named Chance Fischer to a three-year term on the county fair board at the recommendation of fair board members.

• Commissioners ratified signatures on a grant proposal for $14,500. The money is for having an architect produce drawings and analyze the courthouse's capacity for additional infrastructure that would enhance security on the third floor courts area.

• Following the commissioners' regular meeting, a session was held with county administration, law enforcement and members of the off highway vehicle community. They discussed a final draft of a proposed county ordinance that would allow and regulate the use of off highway vehicles (OHV) on county roads.

• A jail census report from Nov. 14 showing 47 detention inmates and nine in work release.

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