Senators to visit Craig

Allard, Campbell to meet with residents this week

Two United States senators will make stops in Craig this week to discuss issues they are addressing regarding Northwest Colorado.

Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell will be at the Moffat County Courthouse at noon Wednesday and Sen. Wayne Allard will be at Craig City Hall 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

According to Derek Wagner in Allard's Grand Junction office, one piece of legislation Allard is pushing regarding Northwest Colorado involves full reimbursements of Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) funding.

PILT funding is a federal government reimbursement for federal land within counties.

Last year, Moffat County received about $300,000 in reimbursements for the 1.6 million acres of federal land in the county.

That comes out to about 61 cents per acre but, according to the law, the county should be receiving about twice that much -- $1.03 per acre.

Wagner said Allard has written a letter to the committee that oversees PILT funding, stressing how important it is that counties, such as Moffat County, with significant amounts of public land be reimbursed fully for that land.

Another bill Allard has cosponsored involves a request to increase federal funding to combat chronic wasting disease, a fatal ailment in deer and elk that was discovered for the first time in Northwest Colorado in March of 2002.

Wagner said Allard believes it is important that the federal government provide the funding necessary to combat the disease, while leaving the states the power to deal with it.

Another issue Allard's office is always eyeing, Wagner said, is proposed wilderness designations in areas such as Moffat County's Vermillion Basin in the northwest part of the county.

The town meeting is part of Allard's pledge to hold at least one town meeting in each of Colorado's 64 counties annually.

Wednesday, a day before Allard is in town, Sen. Campbell will talk to any concerned residents during an hour stop at the Moffat County Courthouse.

According to a press release from Campbell's office, he "encourages constituents experiencing difficulties in dealing with federal agencies, or wanting to voice an opinion on pending federal legislation to attend. No appointment is necessary to participate in the office hours."

Josh Nichols can be reached at 824-7031 or jnichols@craigdailypress.com.

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