Craig Sage grouse conservation, government control of public lands, energy and the future of rural post offices were among the topics discussed with U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, during his visit to Craig on Wednesday.
Tipton’s visit began with coffee with residents Wednesday morning at Cool Water Grille. He later ate lunch with the Moffat County commissioners.
Tipton told residents he supports a consolidation of urban post offices that are closer together, but not the closing of more secluded rural offices.
“If you grew up in a rural community, you understand the importance of these things — the gas station, the grocery, the post office,” Tipton said. “It’s all there.”
Sage grouse issues were discussed at length during the congressman’s meeting with the county commissioners.
“If they endanger sage grouse, our economy is in the tank,” Commissioner Tom Mathers told Tipton, referring to conservation efforts and the impact they could have on energy exploration. “There’d be no oil drilling. I wouldn’t be able to do much on my ranch.”
Tipton said the federal government potentially having say over private lands is a “major concern” and said he’s heard similar opinions on sage grouse from many of the communities he has visited.
The commissioners also brought up wilderness study areas in Moffat County and whether they could be made available again. Tipton said legislative procedures would have to take place in order for that to happen.
The congressman’s overriding theme at both meetings Wednesday, however, was to encourage people to show up at meetings and hearings and to write letters. Tipton said many of the environmental activists who are pushing the opposite direction to the commissioners’ interests are very vocal, especially in the more urban parts of the state.
“What can we do to help?” he asked rhetorically. “A lot of it is being more vocal. People have to show up to these meetings and hearings. The way the process works, we have to participate.”
Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org.