By Travis Khachatoorian
Governor John Hickenlooper stopped by Colorado Mountain College in Glenwood Springs on Monday to meet with more than 50 leaders across the Western Slope and discuss the issues plaguing the area.
The meeting was hosted by Club 20 and followed an agenda broken down into two major sections, including federal ownership of lands and business attraction to Western Colorado.
"Public lands in Western Colorado are the largest economic driver that we have," said Executive Director of Club 20 Bonnie Petersen. "When we have federal decisions that close our access on those lands, it basically has the ability to significantly impact our small communities."
Governor Hickenlooper was receptive to finding solutions to the problems. He said he's been working to combat federal control of lands, is a proponent of exploring energy development in the potential Bookcliff Coal Mine north of Fruita and will continue urging various water basins throughout the state to come together and hash out a sensible water plan.
"I think we're all seeing that people of goodwill can sit down and listen to the other side and say "all right, let me think about how we can get you what you need'," Hickenlooper said about a Colorado water plan.
But one of the main concerns about the meeting was time. The economic roundtable lasted two hours, but there were more than 20 issues to talk about. While some subjects were explored, many felt the meeting didn't have time to go into full detail of complex problems.
"There are certain components that [we] need to continue talking about," said Petersen. "Clearly that is the case here, but we will continue to work on those issues."
Petersen said Club 20 gave the governor a letter outlining their argument on every issue in the agenda.