County asks Allard to help resolve RS 2477

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The Moffat County commissioners are urging U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard to develop a solution to a right-of-way dilemma.

At a meeting Tuesday, the commissioners asked Allard representative Derek Wagner if the Colorado senator would develop a solution to handle the controversial right-of-way law Revised Statute 2477. The statute provides public access across constructed highways on unreserved public lands.

The county has asserted 2,000 miles of right-of-way routes across public lands throughout the county. The county and others with similar policies have come under fire from conservation groups, and many are demanding a congressional resolution to the issue.

U.S. Rep. Mark Udall, D-Boulder, again has introduced a bill that would set a national procedure and time limit for asserting RS 2477 rights. The county prefers to have the issue resolved state by state, but the commissioners thought they needed to offer an alternative to Udall's bill.

If Allard, a Republican, were to sponsor an RS 2477 bill, Moffat County officials would prefer that it be adaptive and defer to a state's laws where applicable, Natural Resources Director Jeff Comstock said. For instance, Colorado law has much stronger definitions of highways than Utah law.

Wagner said he would talk to Allard about the county's request.

Allard is sponsoring a Senate bill that would create a constitutional amendment banning marriage between homosexuals.

"It's a priority of his personally," Wagner said.

Commissioner Darryl Steele asked Wagner if Allard could help continue work on the Geographically Isolated Veterans Bill, also called the Healthy Vets Act. Rep. Scott McInnis was working on the bill, which would provide rural veterans with local health care options, before he left office. But since then the Department of Veteran Affairs has failed to follow up.

The commissioners try to meet with the county's national representatives periodically to discuss issues of local importance in Congress.

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