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Written by Jim Brett, Slow Food Western Slope (CO) Chapter Leader

On December 7, 2011 (a day that will live in infamy again) western Colorado’s North Fork Valley received an early holiday gift from the Bureau of Land Management’s Uncompaghre Field Office, which announced that 22 parcels of over 30,000 acres will be up for oil and gas lease sale set for August 2012. Looking at the BLM map, we could see that the North Fork Valley is completely surrounded by these parcels.

This Valley is an agricultural gem that embodies Slow Food’s principles of envisioning a world in which all people can eat food that is good for them, good for the planet, and good for those who produce it.

There are over 70 winemakers, farmers, orchardists, ranchers and agricultural businesses in North Fork Valley – all of which depend on good and clean water, air and soil. If oil and gas interests start production on these leases, the very lifeblood of the agricultural producers will be seriously threatened and probably ruined since the parcels include the watersheds of the entire Valley. And just as damaging, air pollution will engulf the Valley. These circumstances are totally unacceptable to us.