County opposes 2477 bill

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Moffat County commissioners voted to oppose a bill from a Colorado Congressman and hope other commissioners will join them.

Rep. Mark Udall, D-El--dorado Springs, is sponsoring a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that would set up a federal law guiding Revised Statute 2477 road claims.

R.S. 2477 is a civil-war era law that Moffat County has used to claim 2,000 miles of right-of-way routes on public lands in the county.

On Thursday, the commissioners passed a resolution opposing Udall's bill.

Commissioner Tom Gray said he hopes to get a similar resolution passed by Colorado Counties Inc. at the group's meeting today.

"I'm hoping CCI will oppose it," Gray said.

The Udall bill would set federal guidelines for what constitutes a road and when rights-of-way can be claimed.

Moffat County Natural Res-ources Director Jeff Comstock said the Udall bill doesn't adequately address the definition of a road or what constitutes road construction.

In the past, Moffat County commissioners have said R.S. 2477 guidelines should be handled at the state level.

Lawrence Pacheco, a spokesman for Udall, said he was disappointed that Moffat County commissioners oppose the bill but said the decision doesn't surprise him.

"They have been leading the opposition to any kind of R.S. 2477 legislation," Pacheco said.

Udall is open to recommendations from the commissioners about the bill, Pacheco said.

He said Udall worked closely with CCI to draft the bill, but CCI has never endorsed it.

Gini Pingenot, policy and research coordinator for CCI, said the organization has issued a position on R.S. 2477, but has never issued one on the Udall bill.

In their R.S. 2477 position statement, CCI calls for federal legislation to address R.S. 2477.

Pingenot said that if Gray introduces a resolution at Friday's meeting, CCI could vote on it right away.

Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031 or bjohansson@craigdailypress.com

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