OURAY – Forest management issues, pending wilderness legislation, the fate of the Gunnison sage grouse and other topics of local and regional concern will be up for discussion at a town hall meeting with U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Colo.) in Ouray next Tuesday evening, May 28. The meeting is scheduled from 6-7 p.m. at the Ouray Community Center.
One issue the U.S. Representative from the 3rd District of Colorado will certainly focus on during his visit to Ouray is the Healthy Forest Management and Wildfire Prevention Act, which he introduced in congress this year.
The legislation to allow greater state and local involvement in proactive wildfire prevention on federal lands cleared the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation on April 11. The bill is supported by many Colorado counties and the National Association of Counties, as well as state and national environmental organizations and conservation districts.
The contentious San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act will also likely be a topic of discussion, as Wilderness backers continue to urge Tipton to introduce companion legislation in the House, and opponents make sure he hears plenty of reasons not to do so. “The congressman continues to hear from all sides on that issue and welcomes constituent feedback on that,” said Tipton’s Communications Director/Press Secretary Joshua Green.
While Tipton has refrained from revealing whether or not he will support the San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act, he did recently introduce another piece of Wilderness legislation in the current legislative session. The Hermosa Creek Wilderness Bill, co-sponsored by Senator Bennet, would protect more than 100,000 acres in San Juan National Forest, and designate 38,000 acres of new Wilderness on the Hermosa Creek Watershed.
If time allows, Tipton will also entertain questions during his visit to Ouray about topics of the day that are monopolizing discussion on Capitol Hill, including Obamacare, energy development, ongoing investigations into the 2012 Benghazi attack in Libya, AP wire taps and the IRS scandal, immigration reform, gun control, taxes and small business development, how the sequester has impacted PILT and SRS funding, and the impact of droughts across the West.
Tipton’s visit here is part of a broad sweep of the Western Slope and central mountain regions of Colorado which he will make next week.
“It’s a pretty busy week,” said Green. “It’s a good chance for the congressman to hear from constituents before heading back into eight straight weeks of session.”
Tipton’s pending visit was announced at the Ouray City Council meeting on Monday evening, May 20.
In other news from the City of Ouray, council received an end-of-season report from San Juan Mountain Guides pertaining to its management of the climbing concession at the Ouray Ice Park; a water update from Dave Kanzer of the Colorado River District and Steve Fletcher, the manager of the Uncompahgre Valley Water Users Association; and an update on Amendment 64 from City Attorney Kathryn Sellars. In action items, council moved unanimously (with only three councilors present) to a release and settlement agreement pertaining to a property at 306 1/2 Oak Street, and appointed Councilor Michael Underwood to represent the City of Ouray on the newly formed Ouray County Water Users Association Steering Committee.
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