Trump Administration Drops Mess of a Plan on Western Colorado

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“Drill-Everywhere” plan puts Colorado farms and rural communities at risk.

By Colorado Farm & Food Alliance

On Good Friday, during Passover, and in the midst of the Coronavirus crisis, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management released a drill-everywhere plan for hundreds of thousands of acres of public lands in western Colorado – including in the state’s “Farm to Table Capital” the North Fork Valley.

PAONIA, CO (April 9, 2020) – The communities in the North Fork Valley, which includes affected public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, is a premier organic growing region for Colorado and the Mountain West. The agricultural community, Main Street businesses, local governments, and other key stakeholders, have long participated with the local and state BLM offices to craft a community-supported plan for these critical agricultural and public lands, key to their well-being and future, as well as part of the local water supply.

Community leaders that worked to craft the North Fork plan expressed dismay, but not surprise at the Trump administration’s decision. Meanwhile, many locals have vowed that the community will continue its fight to protect the North Fork Valley.

Statement on the BLM plan as released, from Pete Kolbenschlag with the Colorado Farm & Food Alliance:

“The Trump administration dropping this broadly opposed plan now, in the midst of a pandemic, only adds insult to the deep injury many western Colorado farms and businesses are already suffering. In the North Fork, we came together as a community and presented a protective widely-supported plan to the BLM. That work has all been ignored by BLM, in releasing this mess, which would open over 90% of the public lands here to oil and gas.

“We worked in good faith with the federal government, and that was rejected. But we’re not done standing up for our farms and families.”

Crawford rancher and back-country outfitter talks about the vitality of the area’s public lands and the values they provide that make them too important to turn into an industrial gas field.

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