Letter: Officials keeping residents in mind

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Rio Blanco County is demonstrating it is serious about creating jobs.
First and foremost, protecting the health and welfare of residents in Rio Blanco County is top priority for county government. And to this end, the Rio Blanco County commissioners do a heck of a job. But alongside their planning and road and bridge departments, the commissioners are demonstrating such priorities can be maintained while at the same time improving opportunities for business.
Currently, the county planning staff is working to complete a review of the land use code — not an easy process. This effort is meant to replace dated and inefficient regulations with streamlined approaches identifying where efficiencies can be gained. Another example? In 2011 the county planning staff, along with the commissioners, initiated a process to consolidate a number of disparate and costly permits into a single, user-friendly natural gas well permit. This project will decrease costs to the county, decrease regulatory time and expenses for the business community; and, improve the quality and timeliness of permitting natural gas wells in Rio Blanco County — a win-win.
It’s no secret the natural gas business has impacts on the communities where we operate. And the members of the West Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association understand mitigating these impacts must come first. But it’s clear this commission is taking action to mitigate impacts while also creating a future where job creation and energy investment can occur.
If, as geologists say, Rio Blanco County represents the future of natural gas production in the Picenace Basin, then this pro-business, common sense approach to land use regulation will help ensure Rio Blanco County economic future. The natural gas industry is sometimes quick to complain and hard to please. But we are certainly pleased by the collaborative, positive and efficient direction taken by the Rio Blanco County commissioners and hope the rest of the business community is too.
David Ludlam
Executive Director
West Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association
Grand Junction, Colo.