Sen. Bennet introduces Thompson Divide Act

thompson divide aerialLook away from the ongoing environmental disaster in Parachute for a moment. There’s good news from up valley!

Today Senator Bennet formally introduced the Thompson Divide Withdrawal and Protection Act, a bill that will permanently protect un-leased areas of the Thompson Divide from future development.

Sen. Bennet introduces Thompson Divide bill
Legislation termed a ‘middle-ground’ solution on drilling

Statement from Thompson Divide Coalition:

Senator Bennet’s legislation takes a two-pronged approach. First, the bill withdraws unleased lands in the Thompson Divide from future oil and gas development. Second, the bill allows for a market-based solution by allowing leaseholders the opportunity to sell, donate, or retire their rights in the area.

Having legislation formally introduced is a huge step in the effort to protect hunting and fishing lands, grazing allotments of our local ranches, and recreational opportunities in the Thompson Divide, all of which form a sustainable base for our rural economies. But we still have a long road ahead of us and Senator Bennet will need the continued support of our broad-based coalition.

Please sign our letter thanking Senator Bennet for his leadership. This commonsense and practical legislation is a product of his willingness to listen to our community and to engage all stakeholders involved in the Thompson Divide.

Statement from Senator Bennet:

Our bill offers a middle ground solution to the ongoing conversation about Thompson Divide’s future. It presents an option that would withdraw unleased public minerals in the area from future oil and gas development while also preserving existing private property rights for current leaseholders. The bill also creates an opportunity for existing leases to be retired should they be donated or sold by willing owners.

We believe this bill reflects the voices of stakeholders and Coloradans in the surrounding communities who live, work and play in the area and rely on it for their livelihoods.

Public input has been a critical part of this process and this bill represents the next step toward finding a middle ground solution. We’ll continue to work with all parties, including industry and local stakeholders to develop consensus on our plan to preserve this pristine land.

Read all about the Thompson Divide Withdrawal and Protection Act here and become a citizen co-sponsor of the bill.

The Economic Contribution of Thompson Divide to Western Colorado

In late 2012, the Thompson Divide Coalition contracted with Denver-based BBC Research to study the economic impacts of existing uses on public lands in the Thompson Divide area.

BBC Research’s analysis found that hunting, fishing, grazing and recreation activities in the Thompson Divide support nearly 300 jobs and $30 million a year in economic value. In addition, the large expanse of open lands in the Divide offer a valuable scenic and pristine backdrop to a regional tourism industry that underlies the economy of the neighboring counties. Read the study.

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One Comment on “Sen. Bennet introduces Thompson Divide Act”

  1. Fiona Lloyd Says:


    Sorry, but a ‘market-based solution’ means that the oil and gas companies laugh all the way to the bank having held the local community hostage. To add insult to injury, the hostages have to pay their own ransom! (Twice! Once in federal subsidies and again by having to buy the leases)

    Let the leases expire. Period.

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