DEAR EDITOR:

Over 500,000 acres (more than one third) of the 1.5 million acres of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land in Grand County is already leased for oil and gas extraction. The industry has leased much of our state lands as well. The total land area of Grand County is only about 2.3 million acres. The industry has already won! How much more will the state and federal administrators give away before our County Council wakes up?

The assault on our lands is already in full swing. The County Council can do little at this point to stop it. The County Council needs to stop pushing to join the Seven County Infrastructure Coalition. They must guard our CIB funding jealously and see that the allocations are applied to projects that benefit the citizens of Grand County directly. The only thing we can do to protect our lands now is to cry foul in hopes of getting concessions concerning how this assault by the extraction industry goes forward.

Jobs? They don’t fall from the sky; you have to apply for them. The County Council has to go directly to the corporate lease holders of this mega-billion-dollar industry and demand that jobs be preferentially given to the citizens of Grand County. The council has to identify the jobs and the people in the county that can fill them. The council can help people get the training needed, and they have to act as negotiators on behalf of our people.

Degradation of our lands, air, and water resources? The council has to do its homework in this regard as well. The feds aren’t doing enough, and are failing miserably in their oversight. The state is even worse. No one cares about Grand County, but the citizens of Grand County and a few tens of millions of visitors from around the world. It’s time for the Grand County Council to stand up and support us, instead of assisting our real enemies. If Lynn Jackson wasn’t so busy declaring his hatred for “enviros,” he might realize that they are our best resource. Instead of dismissing them as rabble rousers, (as have other self-described conservatives in this community lately), it is way past time for a reality check. The many environmentalists in this community are in actuality the best and brightest among us. They are the scientists and teachers and selfless volunteers that are doing all the hard work that the feds and state and county governments are doing their best to ignore. They are reading the reports, checking up on the wells and wastewater ponds, and gathering the data that we need to stand up for ourselves. The Grand County Council has to wake up and listen to the citizens of this county who are desperately trying to protect our lives and resources, and ensure the best possible future for our kids.