|Letter sent to Governor Bill Ritter
12-08-07 asking him to support preservation of the Roan Plateau. This is one
of many letters I've sent to various officials over the years regarding the
responsible development of energy resources - but, I thought I'd post them
on this site beginning with this one.
Note: the segments in bold were included in the form letter shared by the Colorado Environmental Coalition (www.ourcolorado.org and www.saveroanplateau.org) but which I had to cut in order to make room for my own comments while not exceeding the 4000 character limit.
Sending a form letter can be a time-saving effort, and therefore one which importantly encourages citizen activism, but it's a good idea to interject your own words, comments and experiences in order to personalize your participation and lend weight to your individual concerns.
Dear Governor Ritter,
Let me please take a moment to add my comments to what I believe is a well written (though form) letter below.
My family and I are at the epi-center of 40 proposed wells located within an approximate mile of home. Industry does not appear concerned for the welfare of the environment nor residents who must live on and with this land. Over the past several years we have experienced horrendous impacts from this industry and, unfortunately anticipate even more. The COGCC shows pictures of elk placidly grazing about condensate tanks - but that's after the chaos of drilling. They don't show the elk smashing into one another and tearing down fences in a panic to flee from an area which had been - months ago - a historic winter range, but has suddenly become the focus of industrial development.
This is only one example of the destruction and far-reaching devastation I've personally witnessed. I will soon write a letter asking you to provide the same protections for human habitants that you are considering for the Roan. And one reason for this is because of the devastation this industry is causing to the contiguous habitat represented by private rural property which, otherwise, provides for a livable environment for people, fauna and flora.
The oil and gas industry has taken enough from Colorado - and while they've given some back in terms of dollars, financial gain is an unequal compensation for the loss or reduction of our other industries - such as tourism which promotes a sustainable environment.
In essence, they are paving over the farm and dropping ten dollars in the mailbox on their way down the road.
Please do whatever you can to bring balanced development back to this extraordinary state.
You are in a position to make a genuine and positive difference for today, for tomorrow, for this state and all of its inhabitants. People are easily led by the scent of a dollar, and they cannot always see the folly in chasing it down. You have been elected to lead this state through this most challenging time, and I believe you have the heart and the vision to do it.
Please stay the course, please hang on to your vision and your heart. Don't let the politics of the day and money-grubbing lobbyists dissuade you from the much more important task of doing what is right for today AND for the future of Colorado.
Thank you so much for everything you have done for wildlife and the residents of this state to date. I hope you will continue in the same tradition
The remainder of this letter echoes my sentiments...
[NOTE to readers of this letter on this Journey of the Forsaken website: the remainder of this letter was written by a coalition of organizations in support of the Roan Plateau. The segments in bold were not sent to Gov. Ritter, due to constraints upon character count.]
I am writing you today to ask you to protect one of our most treasured Colorado landscapes, the Roan Plateau. As you know, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued its Record of Decision in June, which calls for opening the Roan Plateau's undeveloped public lands to natural gas drilling. If this decision is implemented, it would result in the industrialization of the landscape, forever altering this backcountry haven for wildlife and outdoor recreation.
I am thankful that your administration has the opportunity to review and comment on BLM's decision on the Roan Plateau. I encourage you to use this opportunity to restore balance to the Western Slope's public lands by calling for no drilling on the undeveloped public lands within the Roan Plateau Planning Area. Already, half of the Planning Area is leased for oil and gas development. By restricting drilling to these existing sites, we can allow for continued natural gas development, while protecting the Roan Plateau's pristine landscape and critical wildlife habitat.
We are in the middle of a massive industrialization of our public lands, with drilling in Colorado occurring at unprecedented rates. Upwards of 50,000 new wells are projected in the Piceance Basin during the 15 years, an area in which 95% of BLM lands are already leased for oil and gas drilling. Traditional activities such as hunting, fishing, ranching, hiking and other backcountry recreation are simply incompatible with large-scale natural gas infrastructure such as drill rigs, well pads and compressor stations, along with the web of pipelines, roads and heavy truck traffic.
Despite all of the natural gas drilling taking place in western Colorado, most of the public land within the Roan Plateau planning area remained undeveloped. These lands provide a precious zone of natural lands, wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities in a landscape of ever-expanding gas development. The Roan Plateau is truly an island in a sea of drilling. Keeping it that way would be a balanced approach that respects environmental and sustainable economic values while still allowing for reasonable resource extraction.
Throughout the planning process, there has been overwhelming public support for protecting the Roan Plateau. Local governments across Garfield County have consistently and regularly voiced their opposition to drilling on the Roan's public lands. Additionally, 98.5% of the comments received on the Draft EIS supported protection for the public lands atop Roan Plateau. By allowing drilling on the Roan Plateau's public lands BLM's recent decision does exactly what the public has urged against since the beginning.
As one of your constituents, thank you for your attention to and interest in the Roan Plateau. I urge you to use your review and comment period to support Western Slope's simple request to Keep the Roan Plateau as it is. Lastly, I encourage you to support Congressional legislation which protects the Roan Plateau. Your continued leadership on this issue will be essential to protecting this Colorado treasure for generations to come.
Thank you for your service to the great state of Colorado.
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otherwise noted are copyrighted by Lisa Bracken, 2007. All rights are