Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet is encouraging Coloradans to provide feedback on his website regarding a draft bill for the management of Thompson Divide. The comment period will close on December 14.
Bennet’s draft bill offers a middle-of-the-road solution to the ongoing conversation about Thompson Divide’s future. It presents an option that would withdraw unleased public minerals in the area from future oil and gas development while also preserving existing private property rights for current leaseholders. The bill also creates an opportunity for existing leases to be retired should they be donated or sold by willing owners. The legislation was drafted at the request of local governments and following a series of conversations Bennet held with leaseholders, elected officials and community leaders.
“The feedback we receive during the comment period and continued conversations with local residents, ranchers, advocacy groups, and leaseholders will help us develop a bill that works for everyone involved,” Bennet said. “Input from Coloradans is critical, and I look forward to reviewing all of the comments.”
The Thompson Divide, a 221,000-acre parcel of public land is mostly under the surface jurisdiction of the U.S. Forest Service and is located predominantly in Colorado’s Pitkin, Gunnison and Garfield Counties. Bennet is seeking input on the bill and how the area can be effectively managed to protect the multiple uses and economic interests that support the local community.
Community members can read the draft bill, read letters of support from local governments and submit their comments on Bennet’s website at bennet.senate.gov/thompsondivide.