The DCI continues to do a good job of tracking the BLM lease sale in the North Fork Valley. In the April 4 issue of the DCI there is an article by Kathy Browning discussing the meeting held at the Hotchkiss High School on March 31.
Since I was there, I can vouch for the accuracy of the article. However, due to her limited word count, she couldn't go into all the details that were discussed during the four + hour meeting. One point that she did make in her article was that the first speaker stated that the county should ban drilling within at least a mile, or more, of a water source. If Gunnison and Delta counties were to implement a one mile or more setback, then that would fundamentally ban all drilling because it is practically impossible to get a mile away from all water sources in any of these parcels.
Her closing statement was the quote from the final speaker, Duke Cox, former president of Grand Valley Citizens Alliance in Garfield County, "Not here. Not now. Not ever." This statement really summarized all the presenters' opinion on the stand that the North Fork Valley and all the city and county governments in the lease area should take with the BLM.
In the same issue of the DCI there is an article by Hank Lohmeyer with the title of "County will abandon lease deferral option." This article states that according to Bruce Bertram the BLM addressed county concerns in the EA and therefore they will only address problems/concerns with specific parcels. The article also credits Bertram with the statement that only a small minority of the more than 3,000 comments received by BLM was from Delta County residents. According to the Citizens for a Healthy Community (CHC), 98 percent of the comments were against the lease sale. I know that the towns and private drinking water companies and irrigation companies in the North Fork Valley sent in comments against the lease sale. Also many of the ranchers, farmers, organic orchards, vineyards, and businesses sent in comments against the lease sale. CHC estimated 63 percent of the households in the North Fork Valley submitted comments against the lease sale. One additional thought is that there are a reasonably large number of out-of-state landowners in Delta County. Doesn't their voice count? It seems to me that Bertram was either misquoted or there is a large misunderstanding somewhere. It would appear that Bertram's statement was made to indicate that outsiders shouldn't have a voice. If that is what Bertram was saying, then tell the Montrose County Commissioners, who have come out in favor of the lease sale, that they don't get a say in the lease sale!
Do you think that with the additional on-the-ground data demonstrating the problems (disasters is a better word) that oil and gas development generates presented at the March 31 meeting, the Delta County BoCC do the right thing by backing the total lease deferral option? Since the BoCC has proven in the past that they seem to know better than us lowly county residents, I know where I would put my money. Or is the problem that the BoCC thinks that if all the hippies, environmentalists (defined as anyone who really cares about being able to breathe safe air, drink clean water, and successfully grow crops, cattle, grapes, fruit, and children) and Democrats all get poisoned and/or driven away, they (BoCC) can handle the North Fork Dead Zone because county would be better off without these folks. People unite "Not here! Not now! Not ever!"
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