Will someone from the Thompson Divide Coalition answer this question: What good is your strategy when the areas around the Thompson Divide wilderness area are drilled, spilled, fracked, and attacked? While the board continues to say, “We have to believe that our legislators are telling the truth and trust their word in this process.”
Newsflash: Legislators lie.
It’s time to remove those rose-fogged-afterglow-of-legislator-lovin’ glasses, and see that actions always do speak louder than words. It’s not what legislators say, it’s what they do — and whom they serve. No wonder the fracking Governor — and every frackaholic federal, state, county, and municipal elected official from Parachute to Rifle to Silt to New Castle support your strategy! Especially when the message is: “We believe there are appropriate places to drill.”
Really? Please explain the rationale that supports poisoning the public anywhere with no measure for accountability. While the TDC keeps our folks busy writing letters to the BLM, the legislators they’re lovin’ are pushing for oil and gas “eminent domain” bills that support toxic transport pipelines in our state and through our communities; plus increase transfer stations and strip mining of oil shale and frack sands for export.
Asking folks who are Unified — not only for protecting our Thompson Divide, but every damn acre of private and public land from toxic trespassers — to rally our time, talent, and treasure around their failed shit-on-a-stick-masquerading-as-ice-cream strategy is too big of a bite.
The Thompson Divide may be our region’s heart, but don’t think for one moment we’ll compromise our community limbs by putting all of our eggs in one hole-pocked basket. Being drawn to TDC failed strategy keeps our eyes and energy off the real threats legislatively removing our human rights to clean air, clean water, and property protections from toxic trespassers in our communities surrounding the Thompson Divide. Our families, friends, businesses, and properties throughout Garfield, Mesa, Gunnison, Pitkin, and Delta Counties — outside the Divide’s borders — are under legislative attack by the same toxic-trespasser-lovin’ legislators the TDC’s strategists want to trust.
Sorry, TDC you can’t play it both ways, and you cannot serve two masters in the form of compromise. Does the TDC believe the Thompson Divide’s safety lies in the hands of legislators bought by the industry, as opposed to standing with the folks in the line of fire demanding their constitutional and human rights to breathe clean air, clean water, and property protections from toxic trespassers?
The Thompson Divide may be at the heart our communities, but their strongest supporters live, breathe, work, and raise families outside and around the Thompson Divide’s borders. It’s our money they need to “buy back” leases. Nice legal gesture, but the industry called that bluff. In case TDC forgot, the public pays for the Thompson Divide with our tax dollars. Trusting legislators who lie, over the people in this battle is a sign the group’s strategy has lost sight of why We the People of Colorado support the Thompson Divide. Not as an island unto itself, but part of a whole community.
It’s time for the TDC board to review their strategy, and stop sending the message we support drilling, as long as it’s not in Aspen and Carbondale’s backyard. If TDC can’t, they should prepare to fuel their own financial fires, because a lot of us down valley won’t give a dime to a coalition that puts its faith in lying legislators over people battling to save our communities and wilderness areas in Colorado.
The strategy to continue to put up our time, talent, and treasure while TDC negotiates with corrupt industry legislators, who are slamming through ALEC-modeled bills at the federal and state level — like SB 93 — eroding our constitutional rights to clean air, clean water, and property protections from toxic trespassers, is about as effective as negotiating with a gang of eco-rapists holding guns to our heads.
The time has come to separate the wolves from the sheep. We’re in a battle for our lives with very limited resources which cannot be squandered on organizations that aren’t part of the whole community. The “Unified” rhetoric has lost its luster, when Unified means sacrificing our communities in the legislative horse trade.
In case the TDC was too busy “lovin’ legislators,” We the People of Colorado helped kill the toxic trespassers eminent domain bill SB 93. It wasn’t killed by “negotiating with eco-rapist legislators lovingly.” It was killed by direct citizen action demanding that legislators stop trying to ramrod unconstitutional legislation through the General Assembly. We can’t waste our time on a quality control agency like the BLM that makes us go through the public commentary motions. Meanwhile Town Trustees and Commissioners are building roads they don’t have approval to build. Where was the alert from TDC? How many other counties around the Divide are experiencing these attacks?
When it was revealed that the recent round of BLM public commentary was focused on reviewing proposed leasing in the White River National Forest areas — not specifically the Thompson Divide – TDC’s immediate pull-back provides a telling glimpse into their definition of “Unified.”
If TDC really cares about the safety and protection of the Thompson Divide, then they will have to stop seeing the Thompson Divide as an island unto itself, and work more aggressively with allies protecting their communities outside the wilderness area’s borders. At some point, they will have to get off the slime dime, and tell the eco-rapist legislators they’re sucking up to they better put up or shut up. Either our legislators serve the people, or they serve the corporations. It’s one or the other, and the “let’s all be friends” bi-partisanship among thieves, simply says to our communities: “The TDC is unified in robbing the public of their rights to clean air, clean water, and property protections from toxic trespassers. But, it’s okay because we get to keep the Thompson Divide for now!”
Thompson Divide’s preservation is reliant on protected land and corridors outside its boundaries. As communities Unified for the Divide, and every wilderness area in our state and nation, we need to stop the industry attempts to remove us legislatively from our rights to our land. Lovin’ the legislators, while the communities around your borders are getting massacred legislatively, doesn’t cut it!
Anita Sherman* is a consultant for Blue Wing Strategies, LLC in Glenwood Springs, CO, and co-founder of the citizens advocacy group Garfield Transparency Initiative. She has two children, and a pledged supporter of the international collaborative The Mothers Project. Sherman was recently named one of 100 national #FrackingFighters, a citizens direct action initiative by MoveOn.org, and a Co-Lead Plaintiff for a proposed citizens federal class action challenging the constitutionality of Colorado State’s enforcement of Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission over Home Rule municipalities. She was elected as board President in 2013 for the non-profit Growing Food Forward, an organization that addresses hunger relief to the food insecure from Aspen to Parachute CO, with fresh organically cultivated produce. For over three decades, Sherman has been a strong community voice in lobbying legislation that provides equal protection of the law to ensure social justice with a focus on human rights to clean air, clean water, and property protections from industrial impact.