Park hits brakes on propane haul ban
A pending ban on the transportation of propane and other hazardous materials on the east end of Rim Rock Drive was lifted Monday, soon after the two federal legislators considering redesignation of Colorado National Monument as a national park questioned the measure.
Superintendent Lisa Eckert rescinded the ban, citing concerns over the process by which she announced the ban. A new round of meetings with residents is to be announced soon, Eckert said.
“I understand clearly that there are concerns by some about the process that led to our decision,” Eckert said in a statement.
Many Glade Park residents at a public meeting June 16 said they became aware only this month that Eckert had instituted a ban on hazardous materials effective July 1. Eckert soon after extended the effective date of the ban to Aug. 1.
Most, if not all, the residences and ranches on Glade Park are heated with propane that is delivered up the east end of the monument. Diesel and gasoline also are delivered via that route.
Trucks hauling fuel and other hazardous substances should use Little Park Road instead, Eckert said in the original announcement.
The Mesa County Commission had asked that Eckert reconsider the ban and work with the county.
“If we have a cooperating agreement” with the monument, commission Chairman John Justman said on Monday, “I’m waiting for the Park Service to start cooperating.”
U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., whose district includes the monument, and U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., who has led the park-status effort, both said on Monday that they had doubts about the origins of the ban.
“It’s deeply concerning that local government officials and Glade Park residents were not consulted in advance of this far-reaching, and legally questionable, decision that has significant implications for the Grand Junction and Glade Park communities,” Tipton wrote to Eckert.
Udall, who leads the Senate subcommittee on national parks, said the commissioners and Glade Park residents “deserve answers from Colorado National Monument Superintendent Lisa Eckert and the National Park Service on this decision,” Udall said in a statement. “I strongly urge Superintendent Eckert to start a dialogue to publicly address this controversy and reach a collaborative, community-driven resolution that protects public safety and ensures the people of Glade Park continue to have affordable access to fuel for their homes and businesses.”
The National Park Service already has conducted meetings with Grand Valley and Glade Park residents aimed at developing a visitor activity and commercial services plan.
Eckert began planning to rescind the ban after the Glade Park meeting on June 16, her statement said.
“The Glade Park community’s concerns are valid and I hope to build on the collaboration and mutual support we identified last summer by working again with our friends and neighbors to address all of our concerns,” Eckert said.