Paonia Town Council Asks Senators for Permanent Protection

July 17, 2013 –

Last week, the Paonia Town Council voted to send a letter to Sen. Michael Bennet and Sen. Mark Udall to ask for the legislators’ help in permanently protecting important public lands in the North Fork Valley from the risks of drilling and fracking.

Members of the North Fork Alternative Plan advisory group, including Citizens for a Healthy Community Director Jim Ramey, were at the meeting to ask for the Town Council’s support.

The letter thanks Sen. Bennet for his work with other communities working to protect important public lands from development, like those in the Roaring Fork working on the Thompson Divide Withdrawal & Protection Act, and stakeholders in Gunnison County working on a public lands initiative there.

Sen. Bennet meets with community members at Delicious Orchards on a recent trip to Paonia. Credit: Delicious Orchards.

The letter asks Sen. Bennet to withdraw, through federal legislation, publicly owned minerals that underlie both BLM and Forest Service lands that are important to water supplies, recreation, critical wildlife habitat and hunting access, and scenic areas such as the mesas that frame the entrance to Paonia and the West Elk Mountains. Click here to read the letter from the Town Council.

The Town’s letter follows a recent visit by Sen. Bennet to the North Fork to meet with community members concerned about oil and gas development on public lands.

The Senator toured the orchard and market at Delicious Orchards Cafe and the vineyards, cellar, and tasting room at Stone Cottage Cellars.  He met with local farmers, ranchers, and other community members to hear their concerns about why the North Fork is an inappropriate place for oil and gas development.

Click here to read a letter to the Senator thanking him for visiting the North Fork.


Cover photo credit courtesy of Ecoflight.

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