Having attended the Monday night meeting of the Hotchkiss Town Council and representatives of the BLM, we were left with several unanswered questions:
Why is Helen Hankins visiting now?
The community of the North Fork Valley has been requesting an informational meeting with the BLM since the initial 30,000 acres came up for lease over 14 months ago. The auction date is currently only three weeks away, we are far beyond the comment period, and the protest period was closed several weeks ago. What possible good could the staff of the BLM have anticipated as an outcome of this meeting?
Why were public comments blocked?
Having lived with the devastation of gas development in Garfield County, we found that there were a number of misleading statements made by the BLM staff in the meeting with the Hotchkiss Town Council. Without comment from the public, especially from those of us who have directly experienced the impacts, there was no opportunity to address these misleading statements and expose the BLM's inadequate administration of our public lands.
Unfortunately, this dog and pony show is what can be expected of the BLM. The information was worse than useless. It was not only late, it was misleading.
Rosemary Bilchak and Gordon MacAlpine