Tipton, Gardner fear Vermillion monument designation
President Barack Obama ought not look to northwest Colorado’s Vermillion Basin to test his presidential pen, two Colorado congressmen said.
U.S. Reps. Scott Tipton and Cory Gardner, both Republicans, wrote to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell urging her not to take any unilateral action that would set aside the Vermillion Basin.
The basin contains rich reservoirs of natural gas that the Bureau of Land Management has set aside from development.
The congressmen cited an Interior document entitled “Treasured Landscapes” as an indicator of Obama’s interest in designating lands as national monuments under the 1906 Antiquities Act.
“Locking away over 13 million acres of western land by way of the Antiquities Act, without Congressional approval or public input, will restrict access for energy production, recreation, and other job creating economic activities,” Tipton and Gardner wrote. “Given the breadth of this document and this administration’s use of the Antiquities Act to date, the local communities that surround Vermillion Basin are deeply concerned.”
Any designation should be the result of public participation from local communities, the congressmen said.
“When the president unilaterally designates a monument under the Antiquities Act without local support, he is essentially imposing his will over the objections of the American people.” they wrote.
The Vermillion Basin sits in Tipton’s 3rd Congressional District. Gardner, of Yuma on the state’s eastern plains, is running for the Senate.
Club 20, the West Slope advocacy organization, last week wrote to Tipton, Gov. John Hickenlooper and U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet and Mark Udall, both Colorado Democrats, asking that they oppose “any designations of national monuments in western Colorado through the Antiquities Act by President Obama.” We respectfully request that you formally inquire of the president what locations are on the proposed list for such action and share that information with Colorado communities.”