I was disappointed – but not surprised – to see Eric Sanford, a gas and oil industry representative, attack La Plata County Commissioner Gwen Lachelt over her efforts to uphold her constituents’ interests in how our economy and environment is affected by development on Bureau of Land Management land. Our community overwhelmingly supports smart and balanced gas and oil drilling – a perspective that will help diversify our economy, protect our air quality and ensure our families and friends can play outside safely.
We have done so with our votes to elect Gwen Lachelt county commissioner in 2012, and I believe we will do so again in 2016. Gwen has shown support for La Plata County’s residents’ desire to balance gas and oil development with recreation and other uses, for a diversified local economy that will withstand the undulations of volatile extraction industry markets, and thus preserve our jobs, environmental quality and ways of life.
In regards to the BLM Master Leasing Plan, over 200 people from La Plata and Montezuma counties showed up at six public meetings on the plan. Local businesses, federal and state agencies and community members all lined up in favor of balanced use and environmental protection. In my experience as an environmental professional who has been involved in numerous public scoping processes for BLM projects, the level of public interest in this MLP has been extraordinary.
Commissioner Lachelt continues, as usual, to do her best to make sure our community has a voice in the process. She is attuned our community’s overwhelmingly support a transparent and sufficient MLP process that upholds La Plata County residents’ and voters’ interests.
Time and time again, Gwen has worked to accurately represent our community in the face of development. Along with supporting the MLP, she has worked to set in motion a permanent clean-up effort for the Animas and to reform antiquated mining laws. From where I’m sitting, Commissioner Lachelt is doing a great job supporting our community and our local economy, and I applaud her for her leadership!
Emily E. Thorn