Legislation on to Senate, awaiting Sen. Gardener’s support
In January, Senator Michael Bennet and Representative Joe Neguse released the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act, an ambitious bill to protect 400,000 acres of public lands throughout Colorado. Today, we celebrate its passage through the House of Representatives. The CORE Act represents a decades-long push from local communities to protect areas ranging from the Continental and Thompson Divides to the San Juan Mountains.
Strongly supported by conservation, recreation, and wildlife groups across Colorado, as well as county commissioners within directly impacted counties, the CORE Act is now through the House of Representatives and on to the Senate. Colorado Representatives joined the majority in a 227-182 vote for passage. Representatives Doug Lamborn, Ken Buck, and Scott Tipton voted against the measure, despite recent polling which shows constituents are highly in favor of the bill.
The CORE Act protects the critical landscapes of the Thompson Divide and Curecanti National Recreation Area, which will have a lasting impact on the communities in the North Fork Valley. The bill includes a fluid mineral withdrawal for significant acreage in the headwaters of the North Fork, adjacent to the Raggeds and West Elk Wilderness Areas, Kebler Pass, and east of the town of Crawford. It will also take meaningful steps toward addressing climate impacts from Coal Mine Methane (CMM) emissions in the North Fork Valley.
We are appreciative that these proposed designations were locally developed to address existing and future recreation, wildlife habitat, coal mine methane capture, wildfire management, agricultural and water supply needs. Millions of people visit the western slope of Colorado each year, and our federal public lands contribute immeasurably to our economy and quality of life. The communities in the Lower Gunnison watershed are grateful for Sen. Bennet and Rep. Neguse’s leadership on the legislation and hope that Sen. Gardner joins them in support of the bill.
CALL TO ACTION
As the CORE Act moves to the Senate, we need to push Senator Gardener to support the bill. To do this, we need to prove local support as a community that is directly impacted by this legislation. Take a moment to give Sen. Gardener a call at (970) 245-9553 to ask him to vote yes for the bill. Talking points include:
- The local community and your constituents have supported permanent protection for the Thompson Divide for over a decade because oil and gas development in the area is not compatible with our local ranching, agricultural and recreational economies
- I recreate in the Thompson Divide/Curecanti/San Juans and it is important to me to protect these landscapes for these reasons (fill in with your own experiences and stories)
- The bill would provide important protection for key watersheds, helping to safeguard pristine drinking water supplies for local communities from the western slope to the front range.
- The bill would preserve healthy wildlife habitat by protecting key areas from road building, new mines and oil and gas drilling, and other activities that would degrade wildlife habitat and watershed values.