Editorial: Victory at Vermillion?
July 17, 2010
Moffat County Commission’s lobbying efforts to allow for development at Vermillion Basin is an uphill battle, but one worth fighting. The community should consider the governing body’s efforts reassuring and necessary in hopes of obtaining needed revenue streams.
Moffat County officials have perhaps an insurmountable task ahead of them — successfully lobbying to reverse a decision that doesn't allowing drilling in Vermillion Basin.
And yet, the three-member commission and its staff are taking on the seemingly impossible, and for good reason.
After years of discussion, research and planning from various interested parties, Moffat County officials believed an agreement had been reached with the Bureau of Land Management to allow drilling on 1 percent of the 77,000-acre Vermillion Basin.
However, county officials saw that accord crumble at the last minute, potentially costing the county and several local taxing districts lucrative revenue streams that drilling could have provided.
The decision banning drilling at Vermillion hints of special interest influence, and far higher reaches of government making decisions impacting our community without considering local feedback, the Editorial Board contends.
Drilling Vermillion — at the agreed-upon 1 percent only, mind you— is the right thing to do, board members believe.
While board members sympathize with the desire to leave pristine lands untouched and preserved for visitors and native wildlife, Vermillion simply doesn't fit the definition of such an area.
It is, quite simply, a largely barren rock with little wildlife.
As one board member put it, there are numerous lands that should be left untouched by development. Vermillion, however, is one that deserves to be touched.
That our county officials are attempting to regain a foothold on the original 1 percent is reassuring.
They're fighting for local interests and for much-needed dollars to flow into our community for the betterment of things like schools and public services.
The board questions whether this effort will be successful — it seems highly doubtful that our local government can stop what's already been put in motion — but it's admirable that county officials are fighting the good fight.
In the end, the decision banning drilling is far from the one many sought for Vermillion — a compromise.
Allowing for one percent, a mere 770 acres of the basin, was a reasonable solution that could have satisfied all parties.
Instead, our county government is left scrambling, working against the odds, of merely getting back what's always been the practical solution.