Water and gas don't mix

The North Fork Valley is home to a thriving agricultural community. Known as the state’s “farm to table capital,” the North Fork has hundreds of farms, ranches, vineyards, and orchards, and the highest concentration of organic producers in the state. Last week thousands of locals and visitors celebrated Cherry Days in Paonia and sampled the best our valley has to offer.

Agriculture in our valley relies on surface water originating high in our watershed, mainly on public lands managed by the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. Networks of irrigation ditches deliver water from our public lands to our farms, sustaining our crops and our livelihoods. Clean, abundant water is key to our community’s economic future.

The BLM’s newly released Uncompahgre Field Office Resource Management Plan risks our water, public lands, and way of life. The Proposed RMP heavily favors resource extraction at any cost, and disregards the community’s vision of a more sustainable future. The BLM’s proposed plan lacks critical stipulations to protect our water and opens considerable acreage in critical ecosystems to gas development. Increased development on public lands threatens us with water contamination and source water depletion, increased air pollution, and well pads and pipelines dotting our pastoral landscape.

Several years ago our community presented the BLM with the North Fork Alternative Plan, a vision for our public lands that provides baseline protections to safeguard our farms, ranches, and orchards. The BLM considered the North Fork Alternative in the draft RMP, but the Proposed RMP has gone in the opposite direction, putting “energy dominance” and the interests of oil and gas companies ahead of the livelihoods of those who live in the North Fork Valley.

This plan, written in Washington D.C., reflects the interests of industries outside our valley. We insist that the BLM offer a plan written by and for our community, one that includes adequate protections for those of us living within the North Fork Valley.

MARK WALTERMIRE

Hotchkiss


Colorado must move away from coal-fired electricity

As a mother I am concerned about the future of our planet. When a hail storm like the one we had last month wakes us all up in the night, it is a strong reminder that this is very real and happening NOW.

I understand that it was not fiscally advantageous in the past to move toward renewables, but now it is quite the opposite. The Sierra Club just released a report conducted by the independent energy consulting firm, Strategen, that supports this.

It was determined that retiring all 10 of Colorado’s coal fleet and replacing it with renewable resources would save customers $1.4 billion for solar replacement and $1.7 billion for wind replacement.

For coal plants, the option of utilizing securitization (a form of refinancing to access lower interest rates) to facilitate coal plant retirements would provide customers an additional $467 million. With securitization, jobs would be spared as existing workers would be trained!

Considering this is a win-win for all, I am hopeful that we can finally move in the right direction!

SHARI LEIDNER

Denver


Time is running out to stop ?the National Popular Vote law

You have just a few more days to sign the petition to bring the National Popular Vote law to Colorado’s voters.

In 2016, as in all the previous years of Colorado’s existence, Colorado’s electors voted for the presidential candidate who won the most votes in Colorado. In 2019, Colorado’s Democrat Legislature passed, and the governor signed, a bill that would instead give Colorado’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who got the most votes nationwide. (This new procedure would only occur if sufficient states agreed to adopt this method.)

This means that Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, and a few other cities would control the election of our presidents because they have the most votes. States’ rights and states’ power would be diminished.

There is a petition circulating to bring this change of law to a vote of the people. If you would like to preserve the electoral college as it has been for over 200 years, please take the time to sign this petition.

To sign a petition, please visit Coloradansvote.org or contact me as soon as possible.

ANGIE MANY

Eckert

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