Archives for : Friends of the Colorado National Monument

Congressman Scott Tipton Says “NO” to Restrictive National Park Status

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United States Congressman Scott Tipton of Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District released the following statement on July 7, 2014, giving his reasons for opposing the redesignation of the Colorado National Monument to a national park.

Friends of the Colorado National Monument has provided a platform from which the people of Western Colorado have been able to voice their opposition to the risks and restrictions of national park status for our beloved Colorado National Monument. Despite the “unabashed” advocacy by the region’s largest newspaper, and a 2 years-long campaign by proponents for national park status to force this bad idea onto the people of Western Colorado, our voices were heard and, at least for now, we can be grateful that the lands and lifestyle we hold dear will be preserved.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 7, 2014

Contact:

Josh Green

202-617-4395

 

Tipton Announces Opposition to Colorado National Monument Status Change

WASHINGTON— Citing a lack of community consensus and support, Congressman Scott Tipton (R-CO) announced today that he will not draft or introduce any legislation that attempts to change the status of the Colorado National Monument to a national park, and will also actively oppose any attempts to do so in the House of Representatives. Tipton has stated throughout a two year community exploratory effort that local support and community consensus was required for any consideration of a change in the status or management of the Monument.

Tipton and Senator Mark Udall recently completed a 90 day period during which they solicited comments from the community on a proposal, crafted by a citizen working group, to change the Monument to a national park. The comments submitted to the offices clearly indicated that there was no consensus in the community on the issue, that the majority of Mesa County residents who submitted comments are opposed to national park status, and that there are significant concerns and uncertainty within the community over how regulation and Executive Branch rule-making could impact the local economy and existing industries should the status of the Monument change. Additionally, thousands of petition signatures on the Monument have been delivered to Tipton and Udall’s offices that also show a lack of local consensus or support for a change to the Monument’s status.

“While the Colorado National Monument is here for all of us to enjoy and explore, it is most intimate to the people of Mesa County and is integral to this community. From the beginning, I approached this process from the standpoint that should the community, with consensus from all sectors, want to change the Colorado National Monument to a national park, then I would, as their representative, listen to their input with the condition that it be done in a way that would have no adverse impact to existing industries or economic development,” said Tipton. “This process has made it clear that not only is there no community consensus on the issue, but that there are many concerns regarding potential adverse impacts the change could impose on the local economy with regard to increased regulation and federal government scrutiny.”

As part of the 90 day comment period, Tipton and Udall held a public listening session on May 17, during which the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel covered the lack of community consensus, reporting that, “Speakers on both sides of the issue, meanwhile, demonstrated that two years of discussion has done little to heal the fracture in the Grand Valley on the future of the monument.”

The Mesa County Board of Commissioners spoke to that division in a letter to Tipton and Udall on June 30, 2013 writing, “The Mesa County Board of Commissioners have been present at various meetings and events in which our constituents have been discussing the proposed conversion. It is clear to us that not only is there no consensus within our community but more polarization appears to be present with every dialogue we hear.”

During the May 17 public listening session and throughout the comment process many Mesa County citizens, both against and for park status, voiced concerns that the community could be negatively impacted should anything change with regard to current management and regulation of the Monument including air quality standards, buffer zones and travel on the Monument.

“The likelihood for legislation to pass both the House and Senate without impacting current air quality standards, buffer zones and travel on the monument is miniscule. Even if it did, it doesn’t pass the straight-face test to assume that it wouldn’t draw the attention of agency bureaucrats and generate a slew of litigation from outside groups pushing for more stringent restrictions that could drastically impact existing industries in Mesa County,” Tipton said. “Furthermore, there is no guarantee that the letter of the law would be followed by federal agencies. We’ve seen federal regulators circumvent Congressional intent in the law countless times in order to impose more restrictive rules and regulations—look no further than the EPA and Forest Service attempts currently underway to redefine their own regulatory scope in order to restrict access to private water rights. These types of agency actions create great uncertainty for impacted communities, restricting investment, job creation and prosperity. A change in the status of the Monument could at the very least create an increased level of uncertainty over future regulatory impacts to the Mesa County area, and possibly more stringent regulations in and around the Monument. When it comes to growing economic opportunity and creating jobs, it is done successfully through less regulatory uncertainty, not more.”

With a clear lack of community consensus or support for a change to park status, and abounding concerns and uncertainty that national park status could be detrimental to the region, Congressman Tipton opposes a change in status.

“In a region that has experienced firsthand the adverse impacts that federal agency decisions can have on the economy and access to public lands, the community’s concerns that a national park could attract additional scrutiny from federal regulators is well-founded. Just last month, without any notice or public consultation, the National Park Service announced that it would no longer allow the transport of vital fuels on Monument road to the residents of Glade Park. While the Park Service backpedaled on this overreach for the time being, it was a betrayal of the community’s trust and illustrative of the significant impact that agency decisions can have on the local community,” said Tipton. “From the beginning of this process I have said that any change in the status or management of the Monument must be community-driven and locally supported with broad community consensus. The lack of local support and consensus closes the issue and I will not draft nor introduce legislation to change the status of the Monument, and I will actively oppose any outside attempts to do so in the House of Representatives.”

Timeline:

May 19, 2011: At the request of local industry and economic development groups including CLUB 20, the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce, West Slope COGA, and others Congressman Tipton and Senator Udall announce the formation of a community group to consider turning the Colorado National Monument into a national park.  The group was comprised of 16 community leaders, and ended up making no recommendation on whether or not to change the status of the Monument citing a lack of consensus in the community on the issue.

June 8, 2013: At the continued urging of local industry and economic development groups to continue the conversation on the Colorado National Monument and potential park status, Congressman Tipton and Senator Udall announce a citizen working group comprised of five members tasked with drafting recommendations to be incorporated should legislation be crafted to change the Monument to a national park.

April 1, 2014: Congressman Tipton and Senator Udall announce a 90 day public comment period on the recommendations made by the citizen working group regarding park status.

May 17, 2014: Congressman Tipton and Senator Udall hold a community listening session in Grand Junction on the working group proposal.

June 30, 2014: Completion of the 90 day public comment period.

Posted by Friends of the Colorado National Monument

Winning the Fight for our Lands and Lifestyle in Western Colorado

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As Friends of the Colorado National Monument, we are simply a group of people who live near the Monument and want to preserve its beauty, accessibility, and balanced relationship with its human neighbors, and I would urge you to take time and reflect on our great success. Coming together informally about one year ago, and more informally two months ago, giving ourselves a name, website, and mission statement, we have brought the issues facing the Grand Valley, and the possible negative impact of national park status, to the attention of thousands in Mesa County. The troubling attitude and punishing policies of National Park Service director at CNM, Lisa Eckert, have made news statewide, and our message has caught the attention in many in Utah who know how national parks can change the economic and cultural landscape of a region for decades, turning towns with mixed economies into tourist attractions with low-paying service jobs and little opportunity, while driving out industry and development because of the crushing EPA restrictions that come with national park status.

There are many who have dedicated their time, money, talent, and hearts to this cause, and it appears that Friends of the Colorado National Monument has a message which IS resonating with the public as well as our local leaders in Western Colorado.

We are conservationists. Unlike those bureaucrats in far-flung offices somewhere in Washington D.C. and Federal Buildings in capitol cities, we do not live in artificial environments. We do not view the nature around us from the point of policy makers, but as inhabitants. We don’t think of our natural resources in theoretical terms, we depend on then, and so preserve them to the best of our ability. We do not look at pretty pictures of Western Colorado and say, “that should be a national park,” we interact with the Colorado National Monument on a daily basis.

It is the backdrop to our homes. It is the haven of our solace and hope. It is the friend we call upon to help us remember what is really important in life, and what is truly permanent. It is the gateway to twilight as the sun tumbles down its  northern rim anticline, to wink out in a brilliant good night on the western desert. It is our home.

And we are its stewards. That’s why it’s simply not necessary to turn this highly protected national monument into a national park which will inevitably place unnecessary and harmful restrictions on our lives and our livelihoods. Let’s keep the balance. Let’s preserve the environment. Let’s keep the Colorado National Monument as it is.

 

More than Just a Name, the Monument is an Identity

The Iconic (and somewhat cornball) Munchies Monument Mural

The Iconic (and somewhat cornball) Munchies Monument Mural

To the people of the Grand Valley, the Colorado National Monument is more than just a visually stunning and culturally important patch of land to be designated this or that by politicians, it’s part of our regional identity. From its inception, the name of the Colorado National Monument has seeped into the lore, the history and the headings of Western Colorado.

Proponents say, “It’s only a name change.” That assertion is ludicrous from both political and economic standpoints, but it’s also a blow to the unique identity built up over a century by those who have lived in the shadow of the Colorado National Monument.

A certain proponent recently stated that “Rim Rock Canyons National Park” has a nice ring to it. Friends of the Colorado National Monument would disagree, as well as the scores of institutions and businesses which have taken its name.

  • Fruita Monument High School
  • The Monument Unit at Grand Mesa Youth Services
  • Monument Village Subdivision
  • Monument Aircraft Services
  • Monument Amusement and Vending Corp
  • Monument Assisted Living
  • Monument Baptist Church
  • Monument Blind and Shutter
  • Monument Cleaners
  • Monument Executive Center
  • Monument Grinding
  • Monument Garage Door
  • Monument Graphics and Communications
  • Monument Homes
  • Monument Inkjet, LLC
  • Monument Inn
  • Monument Laminated Surfaces
  • Monument Little League
  • Monument Medical Consultants
  • Monument Oil Co.
  • Monument Oral and Facial Surgery, P.C.
  • Monument Powder Coating
  • Monument Preschool
  • Monument Presbyterian Church
  • Monument Realty, Inc.
  • Monument Ridge Townhomes
  • Monument RV Resort
  • Monument Storage
  • Monument Survey Company
  • Monument Transportation
  • Monument Truck Repair
  • Monument Valley Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses
  • Monument Valley Properties, LLC
  • Monument View Bible Church
  • Monument Valley Liquor
  • Monument Well
  • Monument Well Service Company
  • Monument Wigs and Breast Forms
  • Monument Yoga
  • Monumental Smiles
  • Monumental Events and Tickets

…and there are others.

The Colorado National Monument is our local treasure. A risky redesignation to national park is not just an insult to common sense, its an insult to who we are.

The Fruita Allosaurus on Munchies Monument Mural

The Fruita Allosaurus on Munchies Monument Mural

Save Our Monument! 5/20/14

The following video comprises the full informational program presented by Friends of the Colorado National Monument at the Grand Junction City Hall on the evening of May 20, 2014.

The presenters are:

Kent Carson–Spokesman for FCNM, Kent is a retired engineer and scientist who lives near the Colorado National Monument

Karen Madsen–Bicyclist, reads letter from Charles Quimby

Darlene Gsell–Redlands property-owner

John Ferro–Business owner whose horse business was eliminated after Black Canyon of the Gunnison became a national park

Larry Moyer–Petroleum Geologist

Judy Huffaker–Bicyclist, Redlands property-owner

Richard Huffaker–Retired Physician, gentleman farmer on the Redlands

Brandon Siegfried–President of the Public Lands Access Association

Sandy Peeso–Reads the letter from Curt Robinson

SAVE OUR MONUMENT

 

For copies of this video to distribute or share with others who wish to become Friends of the Colorado National Monument, please contact us at monumentfriends@yahoo.com

National Park Status is a Bad Idea: Informational Slides