I wouldn't usually write a letter to the editor, but the more I learn about the proposed land exchange by Bear Ranch and the reaction some people seem to have because Bear Ranch is owned by Bill Koch I feel compelled to do so. I have been a Delta County resident since 2000 and I personally think Mr. Koch is a very good neighbor.
I don't personally know Mr. Koch. I wouldn't recognize him if I bumped into him. I do know he owns a coal mine, a natural gas development company and a ranch that operates in the North Fork.
Additionally, I know many people who work at the mine (management and general labor). They all have expressed a great deal of respect for Mr. Koch to me. His businesses provide needed tax revenues, directly employ hundreds of people in our communities and indirectly are responsible for the employment of thousands more. He and his companies quietly continue to donate to several worthy causes, and now, after listening to concerns about the exchange, are offering to improve access to the Raggeds, as well as Jumbo Mountain near Paonia.
My perception is that Mr. Koch is trying to do a lot of things in our area, and a lot of them seem to be good things. It appears that some individuals oppose any project involving Mr. Koch because of jealousy. Nearly every comment in opposition refers to "billionaire" Bill Koch. They point to his audacity to build a family retreat on his own property or some other personal attack devoid of facts. The National Parks Service, taxpayers and residents of Gunnison and Delta counties already receive a lot from Mr. Koch and appear to be gaining even more in this exchange.
Dennis R. Phillips Deltablog comments powered by Disqus