The North Fork Alternative Plan is about putting smart protections in place for the BLM's new Resource Management Plan. BLM's new plan is going to be in place for up to a quarter of a century, so it is important that they do it correctly to protect the quality of life in our communities.
The question that the North Fork Alternative Plan is trying to answer is: How best can we protect the resources in the area from the risks of oil and gas drilling? This isn't pro-drilling or anti-drilling, but rather it's about protecting resources.
It's trying to protect the resources that make this place special, why people call this place home, raise cattle here, and grow all kinds of produce here.
For example, my ranch just east of Hotchkiss is surrounded by BLM lands, and portions of it have federal minerals underneath the ground.
If drill rigs move in, cattle could become sick from water or air pollution and if that happened, it would be devastating to my business here. Our ranching operations need to be protected from the risks of oil and gas development.
Total agricultural sales in Delta County were almost $47 million in 2007, up from $39 million in 2002, according to the most recent USDA Agricultural census. Ranching is a huge part of those sales and it is critical to our economy here.
The North Fork Alternative Plan is about protecting what makes this place so great; our farms, our ranches, our small town quality of life.
I hope that other residents will join me in supporting the North Fork Alternative Plan, and that our elected officials on town councils and at the county will support it as well.