Ken Brenner: A cleaner future

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The ongoing BP catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico has shown us what can go wrong when measures are not in place to prevent and clean up accidents. Thousands of accidents and spills onshore tell a similar story, such as the Kalamazoo River last week. Hopefully, there now is a better understanding of the inherent risk with production of oil and gas. Please contact and support your Congressional representatives as they currently are debating the Consolidated Land, Energy and Aquatic Resources bill that hopes to ensure responsible energy production, both off- and on-shore.

There must be a balanced strategy to development of our oil and natural gas resources in the U.S. and Colorado. A practical approach produces the energy we need as a nation, and at the same time, protects the public health, our air and water quality, agriculture, critical wildlife habitat and responsible recreation. We can do both while striving for energy independence. We owe it to future generations to produce energy sensibly.

Colorado is on pace for the second busiest year ever with more than 6000 drilling permits issued this year, Wyoming will be second with half that many. There are real impacts to the Western Slope communities that support energy production and the sportsmen, ranchers and recreation industry that provide a balanced/diverse local economy.

Some places in our country simply are too sensitive to assume the risk involved with oil and gas activities. July 25’s Denver Post reported that Field and Stream has announced the six best wild places in the American West. Two are in Northwest Colorado: Outlaw Triangle — Brown’s Park/Vermillion Basin and the Roan Plateau near Rifle. They were chosen because they offer outstanding wildlife habitat and fishing and hunting opportunities. Both are at risk of being lost to oil and gas production right here in our backyard. This is while there already are millions of acres of public lands leased in the same areas.

The CLEAR Act will help to restore balance to the development of America’s valuable natural resources and help foster comprehensive energy solutions for the future. That is why we need the inclusions of on-shore provisions in the bill.

This is the opportunity for Congress to institute common sense safeguards, off-shore and on-shore, so that we have a plan to deal with unintended drilling impacts to our western public lands.

We have an opportunity to change the course of energy production in America and make smarter choices for the future.

Please join me in urging Congress to eliminate the shortcuts of the past and ensuring that protections for water, air, land, wildlife and public health are mandatory — not just voluntary, off- and on-shore. We can work toward a cleaner, safer energy future.

Ken Brenner

Steamboat Springs

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