HIGHLIGHTS, April 24, County Commissioner Meeting

• BLM’s new Uncompahgre Field Office Manager, Greg Larson (pictured), introduced himself to the commissioners and gave a brief update on the bureau’s draft Resource Management Plan. Larson said that the bureau had received more than 50,000 comments on the RMP from county residents and cooperating agencies. More on the plan https://eplanning.blm.gov/…/eplanning/planAndProjectSite.do…

The commissioners emphasized their desire that access and multi-use be key components of the plan. Commissioner Suppes expressed worry about “restrictions that BLM is proposing on ag and energy access” while Commissioner Atchley explained his feeling that the BLM should not “close public land off to cattle grazing.” Commissioner Roeber added, “Glazing permits are important, energy is important, rec is important, but we don’t want to have to rank them. They are all important.”

Larson explained that the bureau would employ the best science possible and encouraged the need for continued exchange of information.

Upcoming energy develop projects were mentioned including The North Fork Mancos Master Development Plan, Gunnison Energy’s proposal to drill, complete, and operate up to 35 horizontal wells from four new well pads and one existing well pad and to construct access roads and gas gathering pipelines in Gunnison and Delta counties. Larson told the commissioners that the bureau had received thousands of comments about this proposal, many from North Fork residents.

Larson says he’s here “for the long haul” and hopes to be able to meet with commissioners on an ongoing basis.

•Solar Energy International’s AmeriCorp VISTA volunteers, Marla and Mary, updated commissioners on progress made promoting the C-PACE program (Colorado Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy). Their first quarter was spent on outreach to contractors and as a result, 13 Western Slope contractors are now trained and registered into the program. Several area businesses have expressed interest in the program including Paonia Laundry, Paonia Breadworks, Lizzy’s Market, Ela Farms, and Clean-slate Energy. More on C-PACE http://copace.com

SEI is also launching a new program to “Solarize Colorado Farms.” Twenty-six local events are planned to promote the program. Stand by for more. https://www.solarenergy.org/solarize-delta-county-farms/

• The County Department of Health and Human Services has revised its public hours to Mon.-Fri., 8:30am to 4:30pm. The change is an effort to help staff prepare for clients in the morning and wrap up the day’s work by 5pm.

• Commissioners and DCED staff met with Derek Wagner, Colorado Mesa University Vice President for Intergovernmental and Community Affairs to discuss promoting the Rural Jump Start Program. DCED would play a role in promoting opportunities under the program to new business interested in locating in Delta County. The program offers extensive tax relief to new businesses that develop unique products and services. More on Jump Start and CMS http://www.coloradomesa.edu/…/cmu-jump-starts-state-economic-development