$1.5 million of our money to fight clean air?
Garfield County’s “Oil and Gas Mitigation Fund” should be renamed the “Oil and Gas Defense Fund” as the monies are being used to protect the industry from citizens who do not want drilling and fracking next to their homes like in Battlement Mesa. In total, the county commissioners are spending over $1.5 million defending the O&G industry in their fight against stronger state regulatory controls.
The commissioners have also spent an additional $1.5 million of our severance tax dollars fighting the sage grouse protections that were preventing public lands to be leased for oil and gas development in Western Colorado.
I believe this is a complete waste of county dollars that could be going to mitigate the economic impacts from coronavirus, supporting our human service agencies during the food and housing crisis, and helping local municipalities supplement their sagging tax collections.
The millions of dollars going to O&G lawyers and lobbyists are against our interests — surely Garfield County residents support stronger air quality rules and protections for wildlife and our natural environment. And don’t we want to preserve our quality of life by not having to live with multiple 25-well pads in our backyard?
It was also disturbing to hear that Garfield County taxpayers are picking up the tab for all the legal and consultant expenses for the 23 county and municipal partners in Garfield County’s Western & Rural Local Governments Coalition. Why aren’t the other counties and local governments asked to share costs? How many would remain in the coalition if they were not subsidized $65,000 each by Garfield County commissioners?
Should I become your next county commissioner, I will not be irresponsible with our county’s funds by continuing to spend millions of dollars on lawyers and consultants to promote oil and gas interests above those of my constituents.