(This letter was originally addressed to the BLM.)
I am a farmer in the North Fork Valley. We grow vegetables, herbs and potted plants for markets predominantly in the Roaring Fork Valley. We have been at this for some 30 years with an established market trade that has been growing just as long. Our farm is located on Lamborn Mesa just slightly to the northwest of Lamborn Mountain. We located the farm almost adjacent to BLM land to assure us, or so we thought, of surrounding lands that would support our enterprise with little or no threat to our agricultural endeavor.
This is but one of three letters I have recently written admonishing the BLM for their recent imbedding with the concerns of gas exploration drillers in and about our valley. Bull Mountain could mark a huge increase on the impact of water, air and traffic pollution in the North Fork Valley. I am personally concerned with the possibility of water pollution that has the potential of destroying all agriculture, to say nothing of the social implications. For years we have driven the McClure Pass Road to our markets in Aspen, Basalt, El Jebel, Carbondale and Redstone. During these numerous trips over 133 we have watched the increase in truck traffic, pipeline burial and derrick raising, all done in the evening and early morning hours. We know this since we travel yonder pass at the same time as the bright red trucks of drilling notoriety. It is this deceptive practice of going about business under cover of night that has provoked the ire of locals. The BLM appears to be oblivious to the consequential damage that could be done should any drilling occur both in the valley and on the Bull Mountain watershed. Every stream that flows down the 133 corridor flows into our reservoirs, all of which feed thousands of acres of agricultural lands — potable water included. How can the BLM be so naively obtuse about the possible effects of water contamination on our exported products and social livelihood?
I write this letter of rebuttal to the leasing of any further gas exploration in this valley as well as our watershed. This blatant misuse of power must cease and desist before our valley, as well as the whole of Colorado, becomes a wasteland of pipes, compressors, fuming tanks and 40-acre well sites. The absolute minimum that the BLM should do is an environmental impact statement — the absolute minimum.
I also write this letter with a heavy heart. This country in which I was born, educated, worked for some 50-odd years has suddenly (or perhaps not so suddenly) turned its back on the small and meek to lie in bed with the big and powerful, only to see its coffers glisten golden in the sun and its people struggle with poor health, chained to the ideal that once upon a time purported to be “for the people.” How is it that any law abiding, ethical, moral being can allow this to happen in the land of the free?