'In the best interest of the state'

Commissioners agree to sign letter, asking Gov. Ritter to look at oil and gas impacts


While the boom in oil and gas exploration is working its way across Colorado, a number of elected officials on the Western Slope think things might be moving too quickly.

A comprehensive Energy Blueprint for Colorado is what Marianna Raftopoulos, with the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, would like to see.


A draft of a letter to Gov. Bill Ritter was presented to the Moffat County commissioners at Tuesday's meeting.

"We're asking the governor to step back and take a look at the impact on the Western Slope," Raftopoulos said. "We would like to get local people on these groups making the decisions."

The letter asks Ritter to consider the impact of proposed energy legislation on the economy, schools and tax structure on western Colorado counties.

Commissioners -- and other elected officials who wish to do so -- plan to sign the letter after one revision is made.

The letter recommends finding a balance that will protect the environment, without devastating the economy. It also asks to include representatives from western Colorado when assembling an energy team.

Moffat County Natural Re--------sources Director Jeff Com--stock agreed things are moving quickly when it comes to energy development.

"Last month there were 15 bills before the house concerning oil and gas development. Some bills conflict with others and are counter productive," he said. "They need to address these issues and work in the best interest of the state."

Comstock said even the make-up of the state's Oil and Gas Commission has generated controversy, as a number of groups try to get their representatives seated in the organization.

He said the answer could lie in forming a focus group to analyze the many proposals currently before the Colorado General Assembly.

Commissioner Tom Gray said with so many bills coming before the Legislature, people sometimes tend to make decisions while "running on emotions." He would like to see the process slow down, and discussions continue with "rational thought and calmer voices."

Raftopoulos said more diversity should be included in all aspects of oil and gas development. If the lawmakers in Denver make decisions hastily, she said, "It could be devastating to western Colorado."

Dan Olsen can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 207, or dolsen@craigdailypress.com.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.