GarCo Commissioner John Martin values wilderness over human life

GarCo John MartinLast week Garfield County Commissioner John Martin voted, along with his fellow commissioners Tom Jankovsky and Mike Samson, to allow 2 well pads, 53 wells, and 2.5 miles of pipeline through people’s backyards in the residential community of Battlement Mesa.

No sooner had the blood dried on Ursa’s special use permits when Martin flipped his pen and signed a letter to the BLM in support of a proposal to “cancel oil and gas leases in the Thompson Divide area and modify dozens of others on the White River National Forest.” The letter was also signed by Pitkin County Commissioner Steve Child, Glenwood Springs Mayor Mike Gamba, and Carbondale Mayor Stacey Bernot.

No matter what he says, his actions show the real John Martin. By signing that letter on the heels of voting to approve drilling in Battlement Mesa, he shows that he values wilderness over human life.

Is this tone deaf politics? Or can’t he see the forest for the trees? Forgive the clichés but John Martin has become a cliché.

John Martin is up for re-election in 2016. We will remember.

Post Independent: Elected officials support gas lease action

A group of local elected officials has thrown its support to a proposal by the Bureau of Land Management to cancel oil and gas leases in the Thompson Divide area and modify dozens of others on the White River National Forest.

The officials include Garfield County Commissioner John Martin, Pitkin County Commissioner Steve Child and the mayors of both Glenwood Springs and Carbondale, Mike Gamba and Stacey Bernot.

The letter to BLM State Director Ruth Welch, circulated by the Thompson Divide Coalition and dated Dec. 17, thanks the agency for its process to examine 65 previously issued leases, calling it “an important path toward resolving the long-standing issues presented by improperly issued leases in the Thompson Divide.”

The BLM is in the middle of a formal public comment period through Jan. 8 regarding its “proposed action” to cancel 18 leases altogether and partially cancel seven others within the Thompson Divide. The proposal also seeks to modify 40 other leases located on the national forest straddling the Garfield and Mesa county line west of the Divide toward DeBeque.

“We appreciate that BLM’s proposed action aims to balance the need for future development of public minerals in the Piceance Basin with the need to conserve certain public lands in the Thompson Divide area” the letter reads in part. “We support this balanced approach and urge BLM to move forward without delay.”

Martin confirmed that he signed the letter of his own volition, without input from the other two Garfield County commissioners, but that it represents the county’s position regarding leases in the Thompson Divide.

“It doesn’t change the county’s position from our scoping position,” Martin said of the county’s comments during the information-gathering phase for the BLM’s environmental review process last year.

“We have got to resolve things, and get off the dime,” he said. “This is just an attempt to get things moving.”

However, fellow Commissioner Tom Jankovsky said he’s not quite ready to endorse the BLM’s proposal.

While the county has said it would like to see the Thompson Divide Coalition and energy companies work together to resolve things regarding those particular leases, he also wants to see lease holders made whole in the process.

Jankovsky said his fellow commissioner’s signature on the TDC letter was “a little surprising to me.”

“It’s always been our position that the Thompson Divide is a special place, and that we would like to see the [coalition] and the oil and gas companies work together to come up with a resolution,” Jankovsky said.

Yup. You read that right. The GarCo BOCC has always felt “that the Thompson Divide is a special place.” Which, in view of their callous vote last week, can only mean that they do not feel that Battlement Mesa is a “special place” – except to the 5,000 residents who live there.

Commissioner Mike Samson is also up for re-election in 2016. Let’s clean house.

For more info —

Aspen Daily NewsBLM proposed action supported by four 
local elected officials

Daily Sentinel: Thompson lease swap idea re-emerges

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