Agencies work together
In the past several months I have had two opportunities to see how communication and dialogue can make a difference. Saturday, County Commissioner Steve Burge assisted in bringing together 20 concerned citizens all with vested interests in Nine Mile Canyon. The other example occurred several months ago when Burge gathered entities together to discuss the controversial Restaurant and Room Tax.
The field trip to Nine Mile Canyon brought together people who normally wouldn't spend a cold, windy Saturday morning together. But the results, in my opinion, were incredible. No one will argue that the primitive beauty of the ruins and carvings in a natural wonder in the canyon. Listening to those people with archeological and historical concerns brought clear the importance of preserving and caring for the valuable past and ruins of our ancient cultures.
Looking around it is also evident that industry commerce has been a large part of the development of the canyon. Agriculture, tourism and gas development has long co-existed in Nine Mile.
Dialogue and conversation is so important and I applaud Burge and the other county and state agencies that assisted in making Saturday a productive day. Things really did come together and solutions were reached as people viewed the multiple uses of the historic canyon.
The one agency that was noticeably absent was the Bureau of Land Management. As I listened to the speakers Saturday, I heard several parties claim that the BLM, because of personal agendas within the agency, have held up the development process and have cost the Bill Barrett Corporation millions of dollars.
In my opinion it is clear that the Barrett Corporation is a team player and is doing everything they can to address the sensitivities of the canyon.
I have more questions than answers:
1. Is BLM more concerned about multiple use land or about the threat of lawsuits?
2. Are there ties within the BLM with environmental groups such SUWA, the Grand Canyon Trust, or Sierra Club?
3. If indeed Carbon County is losing over $5,000 a day because of roadblocks created by the BLM whose responsibility is it to assist in clearing the way for development? According to the discussions Saturday Bill Barrett is losing $80,000 a day because BLM failed to process permits in a timely fashion.
4. How can confidential information be leaked through a government agency that will hold up development so crucial to providing a much needed resource to America and our county?
5. Is BLM running scared from deep pocket environmentalists who threatens to sue their every decision?
I am sure there are very clear answers for most of these questions. It is too bad that the BLM couldn't have found it important enough to show up Saturday and work with the rest of the county and state as we try to balance our treasured and valuable Nine Mile Canyon. We really are all in this together. Let's start playing by the same rules.
As Lowell Braxton, state director of the Department of National Resources, division of oil, gas and mining put it, "If you are here (in Nine Mile Canyon) then its because we're here (gas development)."