Saturday, May 16, 2015

Northwestern Colorado counties meet with U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner

Mesa County Commissioner John Justman joined representatives from other counties around Northwestern Colorado for a meeting with U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner today.

Mesa County Administrator Frank Whidden moderated the meeting, from 10 a.m. to noon, at the Mesa County Workforce Center, 512 29 1/2 Road.

Invited were commissioners or other officials from Delta, Eagle, Gunnison, Montrose, Moffat, Pitkin and Rio Blanco Counties.

Each county had about 10 minutes to discuss issues important to their county or the region. The wide-ranging discussion included many important topics. A few trends emerged:

  • Economic development in areas largely composed of federally owned lands and the impact of federal decisions such as resource management plans and travel management plans 
  • Judicial decisions heavily impacting the coal industry and increasing unemployment in rural areas
  • Transportation, especially the I-70 corridor and a possible new east-west route in Colorado 
  • Water rights 
  • The Endangered Species Act and its impact on economic development 
  • Sen. Gardner's efforts to prevent the listing of the Sage Grouse 
Commissioner Justman highlighted issues Mesa County is currently facing, including the request to the Bureau of Land Management to grant an additional six months to respond to the BLM management plans.

He also pointed out that given the large federal land holdings within Mesa County, county officials need the support of federal representatives to deal with issues facing Mesa County and the Western slope such as water rights. Justman expressed concern that some may be making an effort to undermine the senior water rights held in Mesa County.

Sen. Gardner said he is working to implement the Sage Grouse Protection and Conservation Act, as well as working on legislation to permit companies such as Apple to repatriate profits into the United States without facing large income tax liabilities.

The senator also committed to increasing staffing in his offices around the state to improve communication and coordination with local governments.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Commissioners will get update on Deer Creek odor Monday

Mesa County staff will update the Board of County Commissioners Monday in Public Hearing on the situation at the Deer Creek wastewater disposal facility in Whitewater.

Residents have complained of a strong odor coming from the facility, at 5180 U.S. Hwy. 50, off and on since last fall. Recently, the complaints have increased.

Last Friday, Mesa County's Planning Division Director Linda Dannenberger sent a letter to Alanco Energy Services officials, urging them to remedy the smell. If necessary, the Commissioners could call a hearing to review the facility's Conditional Use Permit, which allows it to operate.

Today, Commissioner John Justman gave this update: "The issue of the odor at Deer Creek is continuing to be worked on. There was a treatment made to the water at the facility this morning. The county will continue to monitor the situation until the issues are resolved. We will be closely watching."

Monday's Administrative Hearing starts at 9 a.m. in the Public Hearing Room at the Old Courthouse, 544 Rood Ave. View the agenda here.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mesa County sends letter of protest to BLM re: Proposed Resource Management Plan

Mesa County's Board of Commissioners this morning approved a 13-page protest letter to the Bureau of Land Management's Proposed Resource Management Plan. The letter was sent to the BLM today.

The county is protesting:
  • The economic impact of closing some routes, as proposed in the BLM plan
  • The economic impact of the plan on fluid, leasable minerals
  • Inconsistencies in the BLM plan with state and local plans
Last week, the commissioners sent a letter requesting six months to look at and respond to the Travel Management portion of the BLM's Resource Management Plan. The county will offer its objections to travel - routes, etc. - at a later time. 

Read the county's letter of protest here.

Commissioners declare May 10-16 as Police Week

From left, Mesa County Commissioners Scott McInnis, Rose Pugliese and John Justman stand with Mesa County Sheriff Matt Lewis, Fruita Police Chief Judy Macy, Colorado State Patrol Major Barry Bratt and Grand Junction Police Chief John Camper. The Commissioners on Monday declared May 10-16 as Police Week in Mesa County.
In honor of law enforcement officers across the United States, the Mesa County Commissioners proclaimed May 10-16 as Police Week in Mesa County at this morning's administrative hearing.

The Commissioners saluted the service of law enforcement officers in our community and in communities across the nation.

Mesa County Sheriff Matt Lewis was on hand to accept the proclamation, as well as Grand Junction Police Chief John Camper, Fruita Police Chief Judy Macy and Major Barry Bratt from the Colorado State Patrol.