bennet capitolSen. Michael Bennet clearly does not support Western Slope residents in their battle to prevent the BLM from closing 2,000 miles of public roads and trails in the Grand Junction area.

Because if he did, he would not have asked Congress this week to pay for the road closures.

Bennet’s funding request was quietly tucked inside a letter he sent Tuesday to Senate appropriators asking that the controversial resource management plan be funded. Also signing onto Bennet’s letter were Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Ron Wyden.

It’s a clever disguise, hidden among pleas for money to save the sage grouse. But we know how to read. Bennet’s words practically leapt off the page and slapped us like a redheaded stepchild constituent.

The BLM, Forest Service, FWS, and NRCS have pursued an unprecedented collaborative effort with states, local governments and businesses to amend resource management plans and develop state plans and strategies that will protect the sagebrush landscape. Fully funding these programs is an opportunity to protect the sage grouse through voluntary, rather than regulatory, conservation efforts.

Fascinating. The BLM has refused to tell the public why it’s shutting off public access to public land, but according to Bennet, it’s a “voluntary” effort to save the grouse.

This explains why Bennet has been missing in action over the whole road debate. U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner and U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton have already weighed in, against the BLM’s actions.

We’re not surprised that Bennet wants funding to stop energy exploration in this region, which the BLM’s program will certainly accomplish, but closing roads that provide access for handicapped persons and senior citizens seeking to experience the backcountry’s grandeur is inexcusable.

Bennet’s lack of love for this region certainly explains why only one donor from Grand Junction bothered to contribute to his Senate reelection campaign during the last quarter.

Interestingly, until this letter surfaced, Bennet had been absent from most of the contentious sage grouse debate – an issue that will drastically affect the economy of half the state.

He was also late to the game in defending the Colowyo mine’s court predicament; even then his response was a half-hearted letter asking for “appropriate actions to remedy this situation.”

Bennet’s actions show a pattern of disdain for Coloradans who elected him to represent their interests in Washington. Instead, he is clearly representing Washington’s interest in controlling Colorado’s economy and public lands.

Grand Junction residents have already voted against Bennet with their wallets by refusing to contribute to his campaign. It’s time for the rest of the state to show Bennet that if he supports evicting us from public lands, we will do the same to him on Election Day.