Tipton gets blowback on drilling bill

Apr 27, 2016

Congressman Scott Tipton is considering a bill that would shift oil and gas drilling from the Thompson Divide and allow the activity in the North Fork Valley.
Credit Courtesy of savethompsondivide.org

Representatives from the Wilderness Workshop and Thompson Divide Coalition had harsh words Tuesday for a proposed oil and gas lease swap. Meanwhile, Pitkin County commissioners expressed frustration that their input wasn’t considered in the latest proposal. Morgan Neely has more.

County officials received praise from conservationists in yesterday’s session for their work on protecting the Thompson Divide. Those same activists directed criticism towards a bill coming from Congressman Scott Tipton’s office. It would allow drilling in Delta County instead of the Divide.

Will Roush is conservation director for the Wilderness Workshop. He called the bill a “giveaway to industry,” and questions why it would eliminate the impact review process for new oil and gas leases.

Brian Meinhart is Tipton’s regional director and policy advisor. He said it’s impossible to know what America’s energy needs will be in 30 years.

“It could be that those resources are very much needed,” he said.

Zane Kessler, executive director of the Thompson Divide Coalition, said the bill fails to consider constituent input, which asks for permanent withdrawal of the leases.