Pitkin County seeks drilling ban in White River National Forest
Pitkin County, neighbor to the much more heavily drilled Garfield County, clearly has a different agenda when it comes to natural gas production. The Pitkin County commissioners demonstrated that vividly earlier this week by asking the U.S. Forest Service to shut down drilling in the massive White River National Forest as oil and gas leases expire.
According to the Aspen Times, Pitkin County – a home-rule county with five commissioners as opposed to the standard three-member board – unanimously signed and fired off a letter to the federal administrators of the 2.3-million-acre forest asking for greater emphasis on tourism and outdoor recreation.
“Given the significant amount of oil and gas that has been produced on the Western Slope over the last 15 years, we request that consideration be given to analysis of the socio-economic and resource benefits of administratively closing lands to future leasing,” the letter read.
“The undeveloped public lands on the White River National Forest provide visitors and residents with extraordinary opportunities for experiencing the natural environment, and are central to our economy.”
The Thompson Creek Divide area of the county near Carbondale has significant natural gas resources, but grassroots environmental groups have been organizing to prevent drilling in that area, which is a major outdoor recreation destination for state and local residents.
The Pitkin County commissioners are set to take up a new set of oil and gas drilling regulations next week.
Got a tip? Freelance story pitch? Send us an e-mail. Follow The Colorado Independent on Twitter.
Like this story? Steal it! Feel free to republish it in part or in full, just please give credit to The Colorado Independent and add a link to the original.
We may not yet know exactly how global warming will affect all the complex parts of Rocky Mountain ecosystems, but it’s not for lack of trying.Read More
None of the members appear to represent the views of the activist-constituents who spent thousands of hours of their lives working for greater local regulatory control. Unless they’re clairvoyant.Read More
Mark your calendars for an evening with Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Mike Keefe on Saturday, Sept. 20, from 7 to 11 p.m.Read More