VIDEO: Bennet, County Commissioners Make Case for San Juan Mountains Bill in Senate Hearing

A video of Bennet’s testimony is available to DOWNLOAD and view on YOUTUBE. 

B-roll of Bennet’s meeting with the County Commissioners is available HERE. 

Photos of Bennet and the County Commissioners are available HERE.

Washington, D.C. – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today testified at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee hearing in support of the San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act. San Juan County Commissioner Pete McKay and San Miguel County Commissioner Joan May joined Bennet in Washington for the hearing.

The legislation, first introduced in 2009, would protect approximately 61,000 acres of land located in the heart of the San Juan Mountains in Southwest Colorado. It also would designate some of the state’s most iconic peaks as wilderness areas, including two fourteeners: Mount Sneffels and Wilson Peak. In April 2018, Bennet—joined in Washington by San Miguel County Commissioner Hilary Cooper and her daughter Maia—introduced an updated version of the bill. Bill background, text, and resources are available HERE.

“For nearly a decade, leaders like Hilary, Pete, and Joan have worked through a collaborative, ground-up process to protect key areas in the San Juan Mountains,” Bennet said in today’s hearing. “They’ve spent countless hours bringing together local businesses, ranchers, landowners, and outdoor enthusiasts to make sure the proposal reflects the diverse interests of the region. The result is a balanced piece of legislation.”

“This bill is a credit to the diligence and vision of the people of southwest Colorado, who care deeply about the future of our public lands and the San Juan Mountains,” Bennet concluded. “I look forward to working with members of the Committee to advance it in the weeks ahead.”

In his testimony, Bennet outlined support for this bill, including from the State of Colorado; Ouray, San Miguel, and San Juan Counties; the towns of Telluride, Mountain Village, Silverton, Ophir, and Ridgway; and key local interests like the Telluride Ski Area, San Miguel Bike Alliance, and Ouray Silver Mines—the only active hard rock mine in the vicinity.

“We thank Senator Bennet for continuing to work on our behalf to help pass this crucial legislation and for his testimony in today’s Senate hearing,” said San Juan County Commissioner Pete McKay. “It was great to meet with both of Colorado’s senators this week in Washington to advocate for pushing this bill across the finish line. For over a decade, our counties have worked to get this bill passed, and we hope Congress can finish the job this year.”

“It’s exciting to see this bill that we’ve worked on for so many years coming before the Senate committee for a hearing this Congress,” said San Miguel County Commissioner Joan May. “In these times of political division, it’s gratifying to work on legislation that has such broad support beyond party lines. Colorado is known for its beautiful landscapes and mountains that define our state, and it is our job to protect them. I thank Senator Bennet for his strong support and testimony on behalf of this bill today.”