401 Meeker St Delta CO 81416 970.874.4421

Clean air, water and food should be a priority

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Dear Editor:

After months of planning commissioner Steve Schrock stated that the North Fork Valley was disproportionately over-represented throughout the Master Plan revision process, I was pleased to see that he appropriately credited the North Fork Valley's participation in his interview with KVNF on May 2. Unfortunately, the draft Master Plan as it is currently written conflicts with his and the planning commission chair's assertion that the North Fork and the Upper North Fork have been adequately represented through the end of this process. The Master Plan is not complete until it is adopted.

At the planning commission's special meeting on April 23 to discuss changes to the draft plan based on written comments received and comments from the open houses, not one planning commission member mentioned receiving nearly 100 comments -- primarily from North Fork residents -- demanding 1) prioritizing of public health, safety and welfare over commercial and industrial development; 2) prioritizing the protection of clean air, water and food (Delta County's brand according to www.westerncoloradoliving.com and those of us who live here); 3) taking a strong position opposing oil and gas development in our watershed, which impacts 1 and 2. There was no discussion of the comments, only discussion of proposed changes based on a number of comments received.

When they say that former planning commissioner Jen Sanborn's absence doesn't make a difference, and that the Master Plan was basically complete when she was not reappointed, it's disingenuous. I cannot imagine that Jen Sanborn would have sat back silently and not spoken up for the Upper North Fork and those 100+ people who want clean air, water and food. It's doubly disingenuous since those are the same desires expressed over and over by the planning commissioners themselves! Who in Delta County doesn't want clean air, water and food? Who in Delta County believes that you can protect clean air, water, and food without prioritizing that? If everyone wants that, why is prioritizing that a problem?

(And to be clear, not one comment has been publicly received stating that prioritizing public health, safety and welfare, prioritizing the protection of clean air, water and food, and opposing industrial oil and gas development in our watershed is a bad idea.) Why is that not reflected in the draft Master Plan?

Lisa Niermann
Hotchkiss

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