Earth First! Action Alert: Stop the Swap at Wolf Creek! Oppose Legislative Land Exchange

The Durango chapter of High Country Earth First! (Colorado) is calling upon ecodefenders to contact officials and rally at the December 8th, 10th, and 15th meetings in Pagosa Springs to oppose the Village at Wolf Creek and the legislative land exchange (more information below).

Unlike our compromise-based counterparts, whose paper-wrenching efforts we do not take for granted, Earth First! takes the stance of NO COMPROMISE! which in turn means NO VILLAGE AT WOLF CREEK! We are prepared to take direct action to stop development if and when it goes forward. We hope you will join us, if you can, and stand in solidarity with us if you can't. SPREAD THE WORD!

12/8 Rally at Archuleta County Court House: Oppose Legislative Land Exchange at Wolf Creek!

12/10 Rally at Pagosa Springs Town Hall: Oppose Legislative Land Exchange at Wolf Creek!

12/15 Rally at Archuleta County Court House: Oppose Legislative Land Exchange at Wolf Creek!

May the forest bewitch you,

— High Country Earth First! (Durango) & Ancient Forest Rescue

Stay in touch! earthfirstdurango@riseup.net

http://groups.google.com/group/southwestearthfirst

PS if you are on Facebook (yeah yeah) please help us spread the word!

The Archuleta BOCC is tentatively scheduled to vote on whether to support the Legislative Land Exchange at Wolf Creek on Tuesday, December 15th at 1:30pm at the County Court House BOCC public meeting.

The following information comes the paper-wrenching ninjas at Colorado Wild and Friends of Wolf Creek:

Action Alert: Important Wolf Creek Update

Stop the swap- oppose the legislative land exchange.

Save the Date!

**UPDATE! The Archuleta BOCC is tentatively scheduled to vote on whether to support the Legislative Land Exchange at Wolf Creek on Tuesday, December 15th at 1:30pm at the County Court House BOCC public meeting**


**The Archuleta BOCC is tentatively scheduled to vote on whether to support the Legislative Land Exchange at Wolf Creek on Tuesday December 8th at 1:30pm at the County Court House BOCC public meeting**


**The BOCC and the Pagosa Town Council will meet Thursday December 10th at noon at Town Hall to decide whether to co-author a letter of support for the Legislative Land Exchange**


Congressman Salazar is currently seeking input from elected community leaders about whether to carry the land trade legislation.


Archuleta County Commisioners hired a private consultant to help them determine the probability of McCombs original plan to build a 10,000 person village at Wolf Creek. The consultants findings are in and the BOCC will be deciding whether or not to sign a letter of support for the legislative land exchange. This is in response to Clint Jones threat of going back to plan a (10,000 person village) if we do not all sign on to a legislative land exchange and embrace plan b. We need your help to challenge them on the details and stand up for the legitimate public review process that Friends of Wolf Creek has been fighting to maintain for more than a decade.

McCombs remains unwilling to trust his project to any traditional process of public analysis, disclosure, and decision-making, and has therefore hired a new team of lobbyists to attempt to circumvent this review process through a legislative land exchange to gain not only access, but also additional developable property. With a number of well known and well-respected lobbyists and development firms on board, McCombs is now courting Congressman John Salazar to sponsor the legislative exchange. Fortunately, Congressman Salazar wants to hear from local communities and local elected officials about whether he should get involved in a land exchange.

McCombs is giving the public a "choice" between an illegal 10,000 person development plan that they could never build (what they like to call the "approved plan"), and the new land exchange plan "plan B" which would result in a slightly smaller development of 8,000 people. How is that for choices? In addition, McCombs' developer is promising to listen to the concerns of the public in Archuleta County, but only if they get your support up front for a legislative land exchange. The "support me now, and I'll listen to your concerns later" approach might fly in some parts of the country, but I hope that Archuleta County won't buy stock in this scheme.

While the land exchange is concerning on its face (exchanging valuable developable land with highway frontage for McCombs' wetlands and other undevelopable land) Colorado Wild is far more concerned about the process McCombs is pursuing to try to receive approval for the exchange. Rather than go though the traditional Forest Service land exchange review process - in which the public would have a chance to weigh in and the Forest Service EIS would disclose the impacts (pro and con) of the exchange before making a decision - McCombs and his new band of lobbyists is asking Congressman John Salazar to perform this land exchange legislatively.

McCombs is currently claiming that they will "try" to get their EIS done before the bill passes Congress. Congress under no obligation to consider the potentially significant impacts that we anticipate will surface through a thorough EIS process. Who do you think will have greater influence over Congress' decision, McCombs or you and I?


Currently the town council is divided on whether to support the legislative land trade or not.
According to press reports, Mayor Ross Aragon, Jerry Jackson and Darrell Cotton are in support of the legislative trade, while Shari Pierce, Stan Holt and Don Volger are urging a Forest Service approval process (administrative).


So, at this point, Council Member Mark Weiler seems to be the swing vote.


**Contact the Pagosa Springs Town Council today and ask them to -

Stop the Swap oppose a legislative land exchange (Emails are listed, you can also call 264-4151):


Ross Aragon, Mayor, archie@centurytel.net
Mark Weiler, District 1, mweiler@parelli.com
Don Volger, District 2, ddvolger@gmail.com
Darrel Cotton, District 3, noki@pagosa.net
Stan Holt, Council Member at Large, pagosaholt@centurytel.net
Shari Pierce, Council Member at Large, sharipierce@pagosasprings.co.gov
Jerry Jackson, Council Member at Large, pagosasprings@hotmail.com

**Contact the BOCC and ask them to continue their opposition to the legislative land exchange. Archuleta County Commisioners have hired a private consultant to help them determine the reality of McCombs original plan to build a 10,000 person village at Wolf Creek. The consutants findings are in and the BOCC will be deciding wether to sign a letter of support for the new "plan B" proposal. We need your help to challenge them on the details and stand up for the legitimate public review process that Friends of Wolf Creek has been fighting to maintain for more than a decade.

Stop the Swap - oppose the legislative proposal:


John Ranson - District 1, jranson@archuletacounty.org, 970-264-8304
Clifford Lucero - District 2, clucero@archuletacounty.org, 970-264-8303
Robert Moomaw - District 3, rmoomaw@archuletacounty.org, 970-264-8305
In the BOCC Bob Moomaw appears to be the swing vote, with Commissioner Ranson supporting the legislative trade and Commissioner Lucero opposing it.

Once again Save the Date!


**The BOCC is tentatively scheduled to vote on the issue on Tuesday December 8th at 1:30pm at the BOCC public meeting.


**The BOCC and the Pagosa Town Council will meet Thursday December 10th at noon to decide whether to co-author a letter of support for the Legislative Land Exchange.


What More You Can Do?


Congressman Salazar has yet to take a position on whether he would consider performing the land exchange through a bill in Congress. He and his staff are currently waiting to hear from local elected officials and the public about this proposal. We need your help to get the word to Salazar to say NO to any legislative land exchange. After more than 20 years of waiting, the public deserves a thorough and transparent analysis of the Village's impacts before any decisions are made about a land exchange or other strategy to facilitate development of this land. Rather than a legislative run around, McCombs should go through the traditional Forest Service review process including a robust public involvement process. You can contact Congressman Salazar's offices locally at:


Contact Congressman John Salazar's office

813 Main Ave, Ste 300, Durango, CO 81301, 970-259-1012

and through his website here and tell him to Stop the Swap - oppose the legislative trade.

OR


Contact Links: US Congress
Representative Salazar: DC 202-225-4761
Durango office John Whitney 259-1012
http://www.house.gov/salazar
326 Cannon House Office Building
District of Columbia 20515-0603

Senator Udall: DC 1-877-768-3255
Durango office Wanda Cason 247-1047
http://markudall.senate.gov
B40E Dirksen Senate Office Bldg
Washington, DC 20510-0605

Senator Bennet: DC 1-866-455-9866
Durango office Ann Brown 258-1710
http://bennet.senate.gov
702 Hart Senate Office Bldg.
District of Columbia 20510-0605

Your Help Needed to Stop McCombs’ Latest Attempt to Circumvent Public Review and Involvement

November 5 , 2009

They are at it again! As you may have heard, Red McCombs has hired a new development team and is again working to push through his plans for a “Village” at Wolf Creek. Their new plan involves a new land exchange to facilitate access to their private land, and to acquire additional developable property. McCombs' team is heavily lobbying in Archuleta County and we need your help today to fight off this proposal.

McCombs remains unwilling to trust his project to any traditional process of public analysis, disclosure, and decision-making, and has therefore hired a new team of lobbyists to attempt to circumvent this review process through a legislative land exchange to gain not only access, but also additional developable property. With a number of well known and well-respected lobbyists and development firms on board, McCombs is now courting Congressman John Salazar to sponsor the legislative exchange. Fortunately, Congressman Salazar wants to hear from local communities and local elected officials about whether he should get involved in a land exchange.

What is on the Table


McCombs' new development team is trying to convince the public (and the BOCC) of why the land exchange is such a good idea, and why the legislative approach is not just more of the same backroom deal-making that we've seen all too much of before. Expect a slick presentation, and a growing list of promises to do this and that to address Archuleta County’s concerns. We need your help to challenge them on the details and stand up for the legitimate public review process that Friends of Wolf Creek has been fighting to maintain for more than a decade.

McCombs is giving the public a “choice” between an illegal 10,000 person development plan that they could never build (what they like to call the “approved plan”), and the new land exchange plan which would result in a slightly smaller development of 8,000 people. How is that for choices? In addition, McCombs’ developer is promising to listen to the concerns of the public in Archuleta County, but only if they get your support up front for a legislative land exchange. The “support me now, and I’ll listen to your concerns later” approach might fly in some parts of the country, but I hope that Archuleta County won’t buy stock in this scheme.

While the land exchange is concerning on its face (exchanging valuable developable land with highway frontage for McCombs’ wetlands and other undevelopable land) Colorado Wild is far more concerned about the process McCombs is pursuing to try to receive approval for the exchange. Rather than go though the traditional Forest Service land exchange review process – in which the public would have a chance to weigh in and the Forest Service EIS would disclose the impacts (pro and con) of the exchange before making a decision – McCombs and his new band of lobbyists is asking Congressman John Salazar to perform this land exchange legislatively.

Although McCombs is currently claiming that they will “try” to get their EIS done before the bill passes Congress, that is one promise they won't make. Nor is Congress under any obligation to consider the potentially significant impacts that we anticipate will surface through a thorough EIS process. Who do you think will have greater influence over Congress' decision, McCombs or you and I?

What You Can Do?


Congressman Salazar has yet to take a position on whether he would consider performing the land exchange through a bill in Congress. He and his staff are currently waiting to hear from local elected officials and the public about this proposal. We need your help to get the word to Salazar to say NO to any legislative land exchange. After more than 20 years of waiting, the public deserves a thorough and transparent analysis of the Village’s impacts before any decisions are made about a land exchange or other strategy to facilitate development of this land. Rather than a legislative run around, McCombs should go through the traditional Forest Service review process including a robust public involvement process. You can contact Congressman Salazar’s offices locally at:

* 813 Main Ave, Ste 300, Durango, CO 81301, 970-259-1012
* 609 Main Street, #6, Alamosa, CO 81101, 719-587-5105

Contact Your Elected Officials


McCombs and his teams are heavily lobbying your local elected officials to get their support for this project. We need your help to push back and ensure that McCombs doesn’t win the special treatment he is seeking.

The Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners recently wrote a letter to Congressman Salazar expressing concerns about a legislative exchange. They need to be thanked for taking this important step, and encouraged to continue their opposition to the legislative proposal:

* John Ranson - District 1, jranson@archuletacounty.org, 970-264-8304
* Clifford Lucero - District 2, clucero@archuletacounty.org, 970-264-8303
* Robert Moomaw - District 3, rmoomaw@archuletacounty.org, 970-264-8305

Contact the Pagosa Springs Town Council today and ask them to oppose a legislative land exchange (e-mails are included here, but phone calls are also encouraged):

* Ross Aragon, Mayor, archie2@centurytel.net
* Mark Weiler, District 1, mweiler@parelli.com
* Don Volger, District 2, ddvolger@gmail.com
* Darrel Cotton, District 3, noki@pagosa.net
* Stan Holt, Council Member at Large, pagosaholt@centurytel.net
* Shari Pierce, Council Member at Large, sharipierce@pagosasprings.co.gov
* Jerry Jackson, Council Member at Large, pagosasprings@hotmail.com

More Details on What is Proposed


McCombs is proposing to exchange a roughly 200 acre portion if his current private land for a roughly 200 acre parcel of National Forest property which is adjacent to McCombs’ current property. McCombs is trying to trade away more than 70 acres wetlands and 100+ acres reserved for skiing in easements. In return for these undevelopable lands, McCombs is seeking property with highway frontage on US Highway 160 and that is generally free of major wetlands. Clearly, the parcels in question are of unequal value (equal value is a requirement of Forest Service land exchanges), but that has not stopped them from seeking legislative support for their proposal.

McCombs’ new front man Clint Jones and their team of lobbyists are beating the streets in Pagosa, South Fork, Del Norte and Creede, making promises and trying to build support for the land exchange. Like other attempts to circumvent public review that McCombs has attempted over the last decade, the legislative land exchange is just the latest attempt to avoid or otherwise “streamline” scrutiny of this project’s potentially significant adverse impacts.

Clint Jones is promising that they will even do an EIS after they get approval for their land exchange from Congress. But what is the point of doing an EIS if the decision has already been made? Why ask the public to weigh in if the deal is done? If McCombs was really willing to address the public’s concerns wouldn’t he want to ask for feedback up front?

Despite all the promises, we are aware of no public benefit of performing this land exchange legislatively. We need your help TODAY to help turn back McCombs’ latest attempt to fast track his development scheme.

For More Information
Contact Paul Joyce at Colorado Wild at 970-385-9833 or paul@coloradowild.org

http://www.friendsofwolfcreek.org/
http://www.coloradowild.org/

http://groups.google.com/group/southwestearthfirst

BOCC Wolf Creek meeting re-scheduled for the 15th!

From the Pagosa Sun:

Due to this week’s snow, the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners have rearranged their meeting schedule as follows:

• Today’s joint meeting between the BoCC and town council has been cancelled.

• Due to the Dec. 8 regular meeting being cancelled, agenda items will be moved to the Dec. 15 meeting. This includes the items on the proposed Village at Wolf Creek.

If the agenda for the Dec. 15 is too large, some items may be deferred to the Dec. 22 special meeting.

more on Wolf Crick

an article from the 3rd: BoCC to decide on Village endorsement

an article from the 2nd: Council considers Village stance

Meeting twice in as many weeks to consider drafting a letter of support for a proposed legislative land swap for the Village at Wolf Creek, the Pagosa Springs Town Council stalled just shy of going forward with the letter, choosing instead to wait to meet with the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners.

Having repealed a resolution from 2004 (stating opposition to a proposed Village at Wolf Creek development), council indicated a shift in its opinion of the plan during its Nov. 19 mid-month meeting. Nevertheless, council stopped short of sending a letter of support for the proposed land exchange (necessary for the project) during that meeting.

Wolf Crick meeting on 15th

Oppose the legislative land exchange. The Archuleta BOCC is tentatively scheduled to vote on whether to support the Legislative Land Exchange at Wolf Creek on Tuesday, December 15th at 1:30pm at the County Court House BOCC public meeting The Commissioners have scheduled time into the meeting agenda for public comment on for more go to www.coloradowild.org