Norton challenges her opponent’s knowledge of federal land issues

Republican Jane Norton on Friday offered her primary opponent Ken Buck a map and advice on wilderness proposals on the Western Slope.

“If Ken needs a map to western Colorado or a tutorial on federal land issues, I’m happy to provide both,” Norton said in a statement. “There’s a long history of our United States senators being leaders on critical natural resource issues. That is a tradition I will continue.”

Buck on Thursday begged off a wilderness question before a Colorado Ski Country USA meeting in Denver, saying he was not aware of the issue, but Friday he said he didn’t recognize the “Hidden Gems” name.

Two U.S. representatives, Diana DeGette, D-Denver, and Jared Polis, D-Boulder, have authored separate bills that would set aside more than 40 areas, mostly on the Western Slope, as wilderness.

Buck said Friday he was perfectly aware of the “Polis wilderness bill” and hadn’t heard of it as the “Hidden Gems” bill.

That measure, as well as that of DeGette, which addresses mostly Bureau of Land Management land, is ill-timed and unnecessary, Buck said.

Both bills would “take land out of positive use at a critical time,” when the state needs energy- and timber-related revenues, he said.

“If Diana DeGette wants to declare City Park in Denver as a wilderness, I would be glad to take a look at that,” he said. “They always want to look at land outside their own district.”


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