Sen. Bennet highlights the North Fork Valley as under threat from federal anti-Public Lands agenda

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Colorado Ag Today is reporting on Senator Bennet’s recent floor speech in which he blasted the acting head of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, William Perry Pendley, for his extremist anti-public lands record. 

Among the issues that Sen. Bennet raised was Pendley green-lighting a Trump plan to open up 95% of the public lands in Colorado’s “Farm to Table Capital” to fracking and leasing for oil and gas development. 

“This Spring Pendley signed off on a resource management plan that opened up the North Fork Valley of the Gunnison; one of our most beautiful agricultural valleys in Colorado to more oil and gas development. Local leaders worried that his plan failed to protect the region’s watershed and will threaten the area’s agricultural and outdoor economy. Instead of listening to Colorado, Mr. Pendley signed off on a plan, as he so often does, written in Washington by a bunch of special interests here…”

U.S. Senator Micheal Bennet, Colorado

Each year, the Colorado Farm & Food Alliance and some of our local partners send a North Fork delegation to Washington DC to meet with elected and administration officials, and to advocate for the protection of the area’s lands, waters, and quality-of-life.  Each year meeting with Senator Bennet and his staff is a highlight of the trip. 

From the North Fork Valley, representatives of the Valley Organic Growers Association, Solar Energy International, Western Slope Conservation Center, and Colorado Farm & Food Alliance met with Sen. Bennet in Washington D.C.

Colorado’s North Fork Valley is one of only two federally-designated wine-growing regions in the state and home to more than one dozen wineries. With the highest concentrations of organic farms in the state, a solar training institute, and unsurpassed back-country, National Forest, and public lands the area is a showcase for our changing rural economies.

Many area businesses and farmers worry that a renewed emphasis on fossil fuel extraction and boom and bust economics jeopardize their own livelihoods.

The uncertainties that already grip our businesses are multiplied when oil and gas proposals arise, which happens with some regularity in the North Fork. That’s because the threat to our small farms, local markets, wineries and public lands is real, even before development begins.

Jeff Schwartz, Big B’s Delicious Orchards, Delta County

You can watch the whole floor speech here, or the shout-out to the North Fork Valley, “One of our most beautiful agricultural valleys in Colorado” below.

Ranchers, farmers, business-owners and residents in the North Fork have long advocated for safeguarding the natural resources and rural character that make the North Fork Valley unique.

Recently many have begun to coalesce in an unified effort to secure a future for this landscape that allows these qualities and features to endure and thrive. You can lean more at Keep the North Fork Fruitful.

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