Richard Levy: Protect our state

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I am concerned about being able to continue to enjoy the things we take for granted: clean air, clean water, unpolluted lands and the outdoors with its beautiful wildlife. These factors also will be key to our economic viability. As Scott Ford has pointed out, the economic future of Steamboat Springs will depend on people choosing us for our idyllic location.

"That (Residential Lifestyle Economy) migration is probably going to be one of the more significant economic drivers for us as we move into the future ..." Ford said. "Like most things in the economy, nothing is independent. They're always highly related. This residential lifestyle economy has emerged because we're a beautiful place to live ..." (Steamboat Today, Jan. 31, 2009).

For most of Colorado's history, mineral extraction profits have been a higher priority than our citizen's health or the environment. The oil and gas industry have been making huge profits at our expense. We do need jobs to live here, though, so maintaining a balance between what we cherish most, and what we need to survive, involves continual reassessment. We recently have witnessed plans to drill for natural gas, oil shale and coal-bed methane all across Northwest Colorado.

House Bill 1292, just now entering the Colorado Senate, embodies the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission's suggested regulatory changes to their own rules, and addresses maintaining our quality of life while continuing to promote oil and gas exploration and development in Colorado. These changes will help protect the beauty and purity of our Colorado home. I full-heartedly recommend House Bill 1292 be passed by the Senate, without amendments, to protect many aspects of our daily lives here in Steamboat Springs and across our state.

Richard Levy

Steamboat Springs

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