County Commissioners Doug Atchley, Mark Roeber and Don Suppes recently sent a letter to Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the Department of Interior.
They supported the secretary's efforts to reorganize the various agencies housed in the Department of Interior to achieve efficiency. They recommended engaging local stakeholders in a more meaningful fashion.
The commissioners expressed appreciation for Zinke's efforts to streamline the NEPA process. As a county which has endured numerous project delays due to extended NEPA review in a multi-jurisdictional project, the commissioners suggested Zinke designate a lead agency to conduct the necessary NEPA analysis.
They urged the secretary to consider the relocation of the national headquarters for the Bureau of Land Management to the Western Slope of Colorado, pointing out that Delta County is home to the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area and that Delta, Montrose and Mesa counties surround the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area.
The commissioners noted that both these National Conservation Areas had strong community support when they were put forward for congressional approval. All three counties continue to take an active role in the partnership of management.
With the BLM national headquarters located on the Western Slope these two National Conservation Areas would enable the National BLM to have a strong connection to the lands they manage and would provide easy access to transportation amenities located in the surrounding areas.
The election results are in at the local, state and national level, and as expected, Democrats are doing well in state and national races. Colorado has elected Jared Polis as governor; nationally the Republicans appear to retain control of the Senate while Democrats now control the House of Representative.
With a ballot full of local and state measures, voter turnout in Delta County topped 71%, with 15,889 ballots cast. Statewide, voter turnout was just over 52%.
Of the three Delta County residents seeking state offices, Matt Soper won over Thea Chase in State Representative Dist. 54; Mike Mason lost to Julie McCluskie in State Representative Dist. 61; and Olen Lund lost to Kerry Donovan in State Senate Dist. 5.
Locally, in the City of Delta voters rejected a .5% sales tax increase to fund recreation, as well as recreational marijuana sales. The sale of medical marijuana and cultivation/manufacturing facilities was approved by a slim margin. Delta voters also gave the city the green light to move forward with selling or trading the Cottonwood and Riverbend Park, and to sell the old Municipal Light and Power Building.