Celebrate Conservation Leaders in Larimer County!
By Gary Wockner
"There can be no greater issue than that of conservation in this
President Theodore Roosevelt 1912
Larimer County has one of the greatest conservation legacies in Colorado.
We have Rocky Mountain National Park; we have over one million acres of
protected federal, state, county, and city open spaces; and we have the
last free-flowing river along the Front Rangethe Cache la Poudre
Much of this legacy is due to the diligent work of conservationists in
the pastmen and women at the local, state, and federal level who
have recognized the great natural resources we have here and have worked
hard to protect them. We are even more fortunate that new leaders are
stepping forward to continue building on this foundation.
In the 2007 state legislature, our local legislatorsSenator Bob
Bacon, and Representatives Randy Fischer and John Kefalasachieved
hallmark successes on behalf of conservation. Many conservation bills
were supported by Bacon, Fischer, and Kefalas, passed by the legislature,
and signed into law by Governor Ritter.
Successes of the 2007 legislature include:
* Supporting the New Energy Economy: Our new governor and legislature
made it a top priority to catapult Colorado forward with support for
alternative and renewable energy. The legislature doubled the renewable
energy standard for Colorado, expanded utility energy efficiency programs,
and helped expand utility transmission lines to wind and solar power
* Balancing Oil and Gas Development: Oil and gas development is exploding
across Colorado, creating negative impacts for landowners, air and water
quality, and wildlife. The legislature passed bills which ensured that
the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission is represented by a broad diversity
of citizens, and helped protect wildlife habitat from the harmful effects
of oil and gas development.
* Protecting Our Water Resources: Water quality has been severely
neglected and under-funded in Colorado for decades. The legislature
passed bills which provided support for the states Water Quality
Control Division, expanded the states Water Efficiency Grant Program,
and made it legally easier for cities and farmers share water.
* Protecting Wildlife Habitat and Open Space: Wildlife habitat and
open space are continuing to be degraded by rapid development and population
growth. To help address these impacts, the 2007 legislature supported
the Habitat Partnership Program, expanded the Native Species Conservation
Trust Fund, and increased the ability of communities to raise funds
to protect open space.
There is one non-partisan organization in ColoradoColorado Conservation
Voters (CCV) that both supports conservation candidates for public
office, and then tracks their voting records in the legislature (www.coloradoconservationvoters.org).
Each year, CCV publishes a scorecard that rates legislators
on their votes so that the public can be informed about the conservation
leadership of their representatives.
We are very lucky here in Fort Collins because all three of our state
elected leadersBacon, Fischer, and Kefalasreceived a rating
of 100% on the scorecard. Additionally, Representative Don Marostica of
Loveland received an 80% score.
To honor these leadersand to celebrate conservation in Larimer
CountyCCV is throwing a party on August 16, from 5:00-8:00pm, at
Avogadros Number in Fort Collins. The public is invited. The event
is also a fundraiser to help support candidates in the 2008 election who
In addition to honoring Bacon, Fischer, and Kefalas, the party at Avogadros
will be hosted by several local elected leaders and many local conservationists.
Colorado House of Representatives Majority Leader, Alice Madden, will
be the guest speaker, followed by a documentary film about the Cache la
Larimer County has a great conservation legacy, and our state elected
leaders are working hard to ensure this legacy remains for future generations.
Come join us in this celebration of our past success and future promise.
Gary Wockner lives in Fort Collins.