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RANGELY | The Rio Blanco County Commissioners met Monday morning for their monthly meeting in Rangely. In the short meeting they accepted a grant and agreed to support a lawsuit against the federal government.
The commissioners signed a declaration of support for Garfield, Jackson and Moffat Counties to jointly file suit against the U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Department of Agricultural, U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management regarding the implementation of sage grouse protection policies. The commissioners are hoping to encourage the federal government to reevaluate the science behind the policies as well as require more transparency throughout the process, which Chairman Shawn Bolton said was lacking. Additionally, they are highly concerned about the policy impact on the oil and gas and agriculture industries.
The board accepted a $4,000 grant from the Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado for the creation of an economic development website. County Economic Development Coordinator Katelin Cook will be utilizing the grant.
A memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the commissioners and White River/Douglas Creek Conservation District was approved. The MOU is designed to further define the roles and responsibilities for both the commissioners and Conservation District in implementing the county land use plan.
Jon Hill approached the commissioners during the public comment portion of the meeting to thank them for allowing the Rangely Cemetery District to work with the county road and bridge crew to get some needed work done. He also voiced support for the commissioners’ stance against supporting the Ute Tribe’s Dinosaur casino. The Town of Rangely has taken a similar stance.
Commissioner Si Woodruff asked Hill if he would be willing to continue to serve on the Basin Water Roundtable, a position Hill filled in his prior role as a county commissioner. Woodruff told Hill that he was more knowledgeable on water issues than anyone currently on the board and they hoped he would continue in that position.
Commissioners quickly updated on their current activities. Commissioner Jeff Rector said he’s been working with the Rangely Road Rally and OHV groups.
Commissioner Woodruff recently met with the Meeker Police Department to discuss a designated officer training site, potentially near the old landfill. He also mentioned a desire to change building codes so that remote cabins are not required to build to code. Woodruff was also concerned that not all landowners are required to spray weeds and expressed a desire to explore more enforcement.
Commissioner Bolton discussed his thoughts on conservation easements, which he said can eliminate death taxes and save family ranches. According to Bolton, Colorado Parks and Wildlife considering allowing energy corridors such as power and pipelines to cross easement land, making them easier to work with. He also mentioned concerns that BLM Planning 2.0 would be revived, specifically the venting and flaring rules.