September 20, 2017

Help Save Colorado’s North Fork Valley

Don't let this (North Fork Valley, CO)....

Don’t let this (North Fork Valley, CO)….

become this (natural gas plant, Parachute, CO)

become this (natural gas plant, Parachute, CO)

Please help, your letter CAN make a difference!
Write a letter (here is a sample comment letter for guidance), OR
create a letter online using this page from Citizens for a Healthy Community, OR
print, sign and mail this letter.

Comments due by November 1 (see below for mailing address).
North Fork Alternative Plan (NFAP) – Western Slope Conservation Centers alternative plan.
Read more on Bloomberg.com:
“The reporter had articulated the dread: that once a gas and oil company gets into your valley, they own you. They own the hospital. They own the commissioners. They own your mountains, and they will do what they want.

Fracking the Fork

The North Fork Valley in Western Colorado is often called the Napa Valley of the west. It blanketed with fruit orchards, home to the largest collection of organic farms in the state, a unique American viticultural area (the West Elk’s AVA) Prize winning cheesemakers, and heritage agricultural products produced in the valley and sold throughout the state. The region is a checkerboard of private farmland and BLM parcels. And almost all the BLM parcels are targeted for fracking.

The North Fork Valley lies on the western side of the Rocky Mountains, its streams drain the Grand Mesa, the Ragged Mountains and the West Elk Mountains into the Gunnison River. The valley with the towns of Delta, Hotchkiss, Crawford and Paonia is situated in the fertile bottomlands of the North Fork River. The West Elks scenic roads loop around the valley where tourists visit the vineyards, distilleries, cheesemakers, artisan bootmakers, potters, ironworkers and glassblowers, microbreweries, and guest ranches. Bike and wine tours dominate the summer economy, and farm and vineyard dinners attract locavores from all over the state. The valley has become a food-media darling.

All that will end if the Bureau of Land Management allows the properties among the organic farms to be leased to the oil and gas extraction industries. The proposed leases are above the Paonia Reservoir, even including the dam, in a lot so close to the high school baseball diamond that if a kid hit a home run, he’d likely hit a drilling rig and in beautiful undeveloped roadless wilderness. There are split estate leases under organic hops fields and leases next door to corn farmers and milk goat pastures. If the oil and gas industry is allowed in the valley they will build drill pads, roads, and container ponds. Our two-lane county highways will become crowded and dangerous. The rural infrastructure will be stressed and fail, with traffic management and the costs of new road surfaces falling on the local people. Noise and pollution will be the norm. With industry comes temporary workers, and with temporary workers come meth labs and bars. Local policing will have to increase, again at the cost of local people.

The industrialization of the North Fork Valley will mean the end of an environmentally pristine valley that has been producing fruit and families for 150 years. The local people are united and are vigorously objecting to this plan, but they are outmanned by the lawyered up and politically connected gas industry. Please help us push back these swindlers who would mutilate our farms and law waste to our livelihoods. Please use they attached documents to contact the BLM and object to this destruction of community and nature.

Send your comments to:
UFO Draft RMP
Uncompahgre Field Office
2465 Townsend Ave.
Montrose, CO 81401
uformp@blm.gov
Please cc: info@theconservationcenter.org & rmpcomments@citizensforahealthycommunity.org