Close up of doctors consoling military officer in the hospital..

Commissioners sign letter supporting VA clinics

Garfield County backs West Divide Conservancy District grant application

July 8, 2022

Garfield County has sent a letter to the state’s political leaders supporting Veterans Benefits Administration (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or VA) clinics in rural Colorado after news of potential closures was announced. The VA clinics serve as many as 12,000 rural veterans, potentially affecting their ability to connect with vital services.

In March, VA Eastern Colorado Healthcare System Director Michael Kilmer announced that clinics in Burlington, Lamar, La Junta, and Salida would possibly be closing. The commissioners’ letter asks that state representatives “stand with us to keep our facilities open and show your support for our veterans and our rural communities.”

“They are potentially going to close these rural VA clinics,” said Commissioner Mike Samson. “This is a bad idea. I think our veterans have not been treated as well as they should have been in the past and this would be a terrible hardship on many of them to have to travel long distances for care.”

Board supports West Divide Conservancy District grant application
Garfield County has submitted a letter of support for the West Divide Water Conservancy District’s application to secure a federal accelerator grant, which would be used to expand the Martin reservoirs in the Four Mile Creek Basin and establish an augmentation project in the Crystal River Basin.

The effort at the Martin reservoirs would provide additional water for users in the basin, while the Crystal River augmentation program would provide “a reliable legal water supply in the Crystal River basin to cover existing out-of-priority uses that need augmentation or risk curtailment,” the support letter reads.

County signs on as cooperating agency in big game EIS
Garfield County has expressed its interest in participating as a cooperating agency with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) concerning an environmental impact statement (EIS) on a proposed land use plan amendment covering big game corridors and conservation of wildlife habitat in Colorado.

According to the BLM, the planning area “includes all 64 counties in Colorado and encompasses approximately 8.3 million acres of BLM-managed surface land and approximately 27 million acres of federal mineral estate.”

Citing Garfield County’s “expertise and/or jurisdiction,” the BLM had invited the county to act as a cooperating agency during the process, requesting input, review, and agreement to a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the effort.

All three letters were approved unanimously, 3-0.