Col leaders call on Biden to protect public lands through drilling ban, new memorial

Colorado’s Democratic leaders are urging President Joe Biden to use his executive powers to do what a divided Senate hasn’t: protect hundreds of thousands of acres of federal land in the centennial state.

one in Letter To Biden this week, sens. Michael Bennett and John Hickenlooper, Rep. Joe Negues, and Gov. Jared Polis acknowledged the current obstacles to passing the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act and asked the president to step in.

Introduced in 2019, the Core Act adds to the previous four public land bills and aims to protect approximately 400,000 acres in the state. The US House of Representatives has passed the bill several times, but it has failed to move through a divided Senate.

“Sadly, progress in Congress has stalled despite strong support in Colorado,” the letter from lawmakers said. “The time has come to take the next step to protect key scenarios within the Core Act and we need your help.”

Colorado leaders specifically requested that Biden use the centuries-old Antiquities Act to establish a new national monument protect Camp Hale – a World War II army training facility near Leadville – as well as the Tenmile Range, a skiing and hiking mecca that runs north to south between the resort towns of Breckenridge and Copper Mountain.

The Tenmile Range is featured in Central Colorado.
The Tenmile Range is featured in Central Colorado.

adventure_photo via Getty Images

The group also urged Biden to protect the 200,000-acre Thompson Divide of the White River National Forest through “mineral extraction” — a measure banning all new drilling and mining activity — and to act for better conservation. using equipment. Grand Mesa, Uncompagre and Gunnison National Forests.

The letter comes a week after Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited Indicated their support for several provisions of the Camp Hale and Corps Act.

“I think it’s really a model for what we should do in this country,” Vilsack said during his visit, “I will go back and make sure the President and the White House are fully briefed on this and make sure our team is moving as fast as we can.”

In their letter, on Thursday, Colorado Democrats thanked Vilsack for his visit and stressed that Biden has the opportunity to preserve Colorado land for future generations.

“We will continue our fight to pass the Core Act to provide permanent protection for the areas delineated in the law, but will seek your help in the interim to provide administrative protection that was modeled after the bill,” he wrote.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and US censors Michael Bennett and John Hickenlooper are pictured at Camp Hale in Colorado on Aug.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and US censors Michael Bennett and John Hickenlooper are pictured at Camp Hale in Colorado on Aug.

AP. via Chris Dillman / Well Daly

Nearly two years after his presidency, Biden is under increasing pressure Install new protected sites and preserve ecologically important landscapes – something they promised to do on the campaign trail.

in april report goodThe Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks, an organization of current and former National Park Service employees, identified six “national treasures in need” and lobbied Biden to use his powers under the Antiquities Act.

and a coalition of 92 national and local organizations in June called on President to install a new monument in the Castner Range, a former military weapons testing area spanning 7,000 acres in West Texas that is home to a diversity of archaeological sites and at-risk wildlife.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.

Biden has recognized the popularity and importance of protected sites. When he finally put pen to paper in October restore three national monuments that were demolished by his predecessor, Biden said Doing so “might be the easiest thing I’ve ever done as president.”

“I mean,” he said laughing to the crowd. “Indeed.”

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