It is either Plan A (original plan) or Plan B (legislative land exchange plan), so why not go with Plan B.

  • Fact: The original land use plan was found illegal, and any re-approval is complicated by new easements. The old plan can NEVER be built, and is not a fall back plan.
  • Fact: Most land exchanges are conducted through a Forest Service Administrative process that involves public input and assessment of pros and cons BEFORE a decision is reached on the exchange. This fall back preserves the public’s right to be involved. Legislative exchanges are normally reserved for unique circumstances involving multiple agencies or other complications.

The Legislative Land Exchange would require and EIS so it is the same in effect as the Forest Service Land Exchange process.

  • Fact: An EIS is just an assessment of impacts and a process of gathering public and other agency input. EISs are only useful if the analysis developed is used to inform a decision. Doing an EIS after a decision has already been reached merely documents what the decision did, it can’t inform a better decision
  • Fact: The Forest Service land exchange process is designed to determine whether an exchange is in the public’s interest. The Forest Service can deny or modify an exchange proposal if insight developed through the EIS process suggests a better alternative.

The land exchange would “save” the wetlands on McCombs property.

  • Fact: All wetlands are protected by federal law, whether they are on public or private land. McCombs’ wetlands are a unique type, and are not subject to traditional impact/mitigation standards. No impacts are allowed under federal law regardless of whether McCombs owns them or they are returned to the Forest Service.

McCombs property is private land, he has the right to develop it as he sees fit.

  • Fact: The public owns an easement on McCombs property that goes back to the original land exchange. Any development of McCombs land must meet certain criteria, can’t include industrial facilities, and must be authorized by the Forest Service. Thus it is appropriate for the public to have an active role in determining the future of the Village.

Wolf Creek Ski Area can sustain another 1,500+ visitors per day.

  • Question: Where do Clint Jones’ back-of-the-envelope numbers come from? The Forest Service does not permit ski areas to operate at their Comfortable Carrying Capacity every day of the season. What would peak days look like? What about projected population growth in Archuleta County and Rio Grande County? How long of lift lines are acceptable to area residents/visitors?

Pagosa and Archuleta County would have more leverage on a legislative land exchange.

  • Questions: Would you rather negotiate over fiscal impacts to your community’s schools, police, and EMS with a thorough assessment of the impacts to these services in hand, or before such an analysis was completed? Why would McCombs be more willing to make concessions before Congress’s decision than he would before the Forest Service’s decision on a land exchange?

The legislative land exchange will be faster and provide a quicker boost to the economy.

  • Question: If McCombs is willing to do an EIS either way, why is the legislative approach so much faster? If McCombs get certainty out of the legislative approach, then the public gives up its ability to say no, even if the EIS suggests it’s a bad deal. Why should we give up that choice?

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