Leona Hemmerich: Have residents given thoughts to lease sale? | CraigDailyPress.com

Leona Hemmerich: Have residents given thoughts to lease sale?

I would like to comment regarding the upcoming BLM lease sales that will happen today. Although I filed a formal protest to BLM about a number of parcels, I wonder if the residents of this county have really given any thought about the effect that could occur. From articles I’ve read in other papers, I know that big game isn’t as abundant in Garfield County as it was before all the drilling started. Hunting is a big part of what goes on in this area. How much will the small businesses be hurt when the hunters decide it’s not worth the effort?

Personally, I am very concerned about my water supply. Some people have told me that artesian water can’t be hurt, but if that’s the case, then why have people in other areas lost the use of their water? With the inclusion of parcels above our water supply as well as surrounding all of the little community of blue Mountain with wells, we will definitely lose the quality of life which brought us here, and very possibly the quality of our water could decline, as well.

Additionally, how many people realize that the policy of the BLM to do lease sales does not require them to inform the surface owners when the minerals under their property are included in the sale? Surface owners are not given the option to say they don’t want a well on their property if that’s where the lessee wants to drill. Granted, the surface owners get a pittance if a well is drilled on their property — currently a one time fee of $2,500 — but if that well causes a problem for me such as erosion, etc., the damage fee is extremely small. Many people who have read of my concerns about drilling usually associate me with the notion that I am only interested in keeping the scenic beauty of our area so tourists will want to come and drop their money. Although that may be somewhat true, it is certainly not the only reason I have concerns, and hopefully this letter gives people a glimpse into some of the other issues.

If you would be interested in seeing my actual protest letter to BLM or my letter to the Moffat County commissioners asking them to change their position, I would be happy to send those to you, as well.

Leona Hemmerich,

Land owner in Blue Mountain, Skull Creek and Dinosaur as well as a business owner — BedRock Depot in Dinosaur.

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