A new, $1.8 million fire station is in the works about five miles up West Sopris Creek Road, the culmination of an effort started more than a decade ago. The project is coming together thanks to myriad partners, including the Bureau of Land Management, the Basalt and Rural Fire Protection District and neighboring homeowners.
Support from U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton didn’t hurt, either.
The station is envisioned to have two bays to accommodate a fire truck and a medical response vehicle, as well as three one-bedroom apartments. The station still needs approval from Pitkin County through a location-and-extent review. The relatively streamlined process is available for projects such as school buildings and fire stations.
An application to the county is expected to be submitted shortly, according to David Myler, who is representing Sopris Mountain Ranch homeowners.
“We can now kick everything into high gear,” he said this week, following the BLM’s recent approval of a 2.25-acre right of way for the station.
A spokesman for Tipton’s office said the congressman and his staff have been working with “local BLM representatives and other involved parties to see that this process was resolved in a timely manner.
“Overall, [Tipton] is pleased with the Basalt and Rural Fire Protection District, state and federal parties involved to collaborate on a solution that will benefit the community of Basalt and the surrounding area,” said Matt Atwood, press secretary and digital communications director.
Myler said he’s thankful Tipton got involved.
“I think Scott touted the public purpose and benefits, and encouraged the BLM to expedite the process,” Myler said.
In a ‘construction-ready state’
Fire Chief Scott Thompson said the effort to build the rural station started in 2007 but was initially derailed by the economic downturn. The interest in the public-private project to improve fire and medical response times never waned, however, and Thompson said homeowners have pledged about $900,000 toward its completion; the other half of the money is expected to come from a Department of Local Affairs grant, he said.
Thompson noted that the project could help lower insurance rates for West Sopris-area homeowners, due to its proximity and shortened response times, but that couldn’t be confirmed by Myler.
The fire station received an administrative grant last year that allowed for engineering, architectural work and property surveys to go ahead.
“It’s in a construction-ready state,” according to Thompson.
Approval from the BLM for a 99-year lease on the right-of-way further teed up the project. Initially, it was thought the approximately 2.25-acre property was within the Sopris Mountain Ranch parcel, Thompson said, noting that homeowners had agreed to donate the land for the station. But investigation unearthed that the property was BLM land.
In a prepared statement, Larry Sandoval, field manager for the BLM’s Colorado River Valley field office, wrote, “The fire district is an important partner to the BLM and U.S. Forest Service in managing wildfires, and this station’s proximity to public land will help with prompt responses to wildfires.”
Sandoval added, “The BLM strives to be a good neighbor and can authorize such uses of public land to local governments when it’s in the public’s interest.”
From old-town Basalt, the response to calls up West Sopris can take as long as 25 minutes, Thompson said. That theory was tested three years ago at a house fire in the vicinity.
Last summer’s Lake Christine Fire is also never far from anyone’s memory, he suggested.
“It’s obvious that the BLM sees the advantages of stopping fires up there,” Thompson said.
Pending county approval, construction is anticipated to start in early summer on the project site, which Thompson noted has unrivaled views.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following the arrest of the remaining trespassers in the Venezuelan embassy, Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03) gave the follow response:
“The removal of the radical American trespassers from the Venezuelan embassy is great show of faith to the Venezuelan people. This year, the United States and more than 50 allies joined in opposition of the oppression and human rights violations of the illegitimate Maduro regime and in support of the interim President Juan Guaido to ultimately lead to a freer and more prosperous Venezuela. Today, the Venezuelan people have their embassy back. I applaud Secretary Pompeo and the law enforcement agencies who worked to restore order and return control of the embassy to the Venezuelan people.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03) voted in support of H.R. 299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019. The bill would allow for compensation to Vietnam-era veterans who suffered afflictions caused from exposure to Agent Orange and other detrimental herbicides used during the war.
“Veterans served in the military with the understanding they would receive fair compensation for any injuries or illnesses as a result of their service,” said Tipton. “Unfortunately, a growing number of veterans have not been able to get care they are owed solely because they never stepped on land during the Vietnam War. It’s well past time to correct this issue and I am glad to support this bill.”
H.R. 299 would increase disability coverage for servicemembers who were at sea during the Vietnam War within 12 nautical miles of land. The bill also expands coverage to children born of parents who served in Thailand and veterans who were stationed on the Korean DMZ. Tipton was a co-sponsor of the legislation which can be found here.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03) voted in support of H.R. 2379, a bill that reauthorizes the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program. Tipton, a cosponsor of the bill, has long supported measures to ensure local law enforcement officers have the resources they need to keep themselves and their communities safe.
“There is no better way to show appreciation of law enforcement officers than by providing their units with necessary life-saving equipment,” said Tipton. “Law enforcement officers take extraordinary risks every day they go to work, and I am glad to see this legislation passed during Police Week to show support to the men and women who keep our communities safe.”
The Bulletproof Vest Partnership was established in 1998 and has since awarded over 1.3 million vests to police units across the country. Seventy-four jurisdictions across Colorado were awarded grant money to purchase bulletproof vests in fiscal year 2018. More information on the program can be found here.
The radical leftist group Code Pink got a well-earned taste of what life is like under the oppressive dictator Nicolas Maduro this week, when utilities to the Venezuelan Embassy were shut off. Code Pink has been illegally squatting in the Embassy in Washington for weeks. The group, comprised of American citizens, has been obstructing Venezuelan citizens and the internationally recognized ambassador of Venezuela, Carlos Vecchio from entering their embassy.
These American citizens, who have ties to the Communist Castro regime in Cuba as well as the oppressive and corrupt Nicolas Maduro and Hugo Chavez regimes in Venezuela, have passionately described life under the dictators as “heaven.” Yet, when touched with just a shadow of the daily hardships from which millions of Venezuelans cannot escape, the delusional leftists cry ‘Injustice, inhumanity and assault!’ Just this week, Code Pink co-founder Medea Benjamin even went so far as to play the victim, yelling “harassment!” when someone in Starbucks dared to question the hypocrisy of her enjoying the spoils of a free, capitalist society on her way to protest the same freedoms for Venezuelans who don’t even have access to water and food. The video of the encounter is hard to watch.
When not crying foul about inconveniences to their privileged lives (as they actively break the law), the group has hurled insults from the windows of the Embassy at the Venezuelan Spanish-speaking protestors below—calling them racists, fascists and imperialists. The irony of the image of a group of mostly white middle-aged Americans illegally occupying a foreign embassy while screaming that they know best for the Spanish-speaking Venezuelans below is not lost on most people. The mainstream media in the U.S. has done a good job of fairly covering the standoff and the deplorable conditions in Venezuela. Not to be outdone, the Russian controlled propaganda outlets of RT and Sputnik News have relentlessly promoted Code Pink’s actions and echoed the Kremlin talking points that Venezuela is a prosperous and democratic country whose woes are the fault of the U.S. and not Maduro. It’s worth pointing out to Code Pink and the others who blatantly ignore the crisis in Venezuela that since Maduro has taken over the country, he has driven millions to flee, rewrote the constitution to protect himself, ended free and fair elections, and imprisoned and even killed his political opponents.
The absurdity of all of this would be comical if what Code Pink was advocating for was not so destructive and at such a terrible human cost.
Millions of Venezuelans do not have access to basic daily necessities including food, clean water, medicine, electricity or internet, let alone freedom or economic opportunity. Protests of the regime in Venezuela have been met with violence. Maduro’s forces, which include heavily armed street gangs, have killed, injured and imprisoned thousands of decenters. In my district, my office has helped several Venezuelans who were forced to flee the regime because of fears of retaliation, imprisonment and even death for their vocal opposition.
While people in Venezuela are starving and dying due to a lack of medical care, Code Pink proudly stands by Maduro, whose regime has invited Hamas militants to establish cells in the country, is deeply involved with organized crime, and has stolen billions from the Venezuelan people. Apparently, the continuation of this is what a peaceful outcome looks like according to Medea Benjamin and her comrades.
To me, this is not what peace looks like.
A true peaceful outcome is what interim President Juan Guaidó is working toward. He has called for free and fair elections and has pledged to turn economic power back over to the Venezuelan people, so they can begin to rebuild their country. Guaidó wants to lead the country out of the failed socialist nightmare and into a free democratic and capitalist future that empowers the Venezuelan people and not a small cartel of kleptocrats.
The United States can send a strong show of support to Guaidó and those who truly believe in peace and democracy by evicting the Code Pink trespassers from the Venezuelan Embassy, who have no right under international law to be there. It is my hope that Secretary Mike Pompeo and the State Department will bring this about quickly to uphold the rule of law and give the Venezuelan people another needed ray of hope.
Congressman Scott R. Tipton represents Colorado’s 3rd District. He serves on the House Committee on Financial Services. Tipton is the Executive Vice Chairman of the Congressional Western Caucus and Co-chairman of the Congressional Small Business Caucus.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03) introduced a bill today, the Reprioritizing Unserved Rural Areas and Locations for Broadband Act (RURAL Broadband Act) which if passed would improve the process for expanding broadband to rural communities. The bill was introduced with Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Paul Gosar (AZ-04).
“It’s an outrage that rural communities still don’t have the same access to high-speed internet as urban areas,” said Congressman Tipton. “From our children’s ability to do homework, to starting and growing a small business, to online banking, it’s time to bring rural Colorado and rural communities across the country to the 21st Century, and this legislation will do just that.”
“In order to bridge the growing divide between rural and urban communities in this country, we must ensure we are investing in the necessary infrastructure to keep our communities connected,” said Congressman Gosar. “This legislation will help bridge the digital divide in our nation by prioritizing communities who lack access to broadband internet.”
Congress has continued to prioritize the buildout of broadband internet to rural communities, but duplicative efforts by the existing federal system can slow the process. The RURAL Broadband Act would establish better coordination between the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service program (RUS) and the FCC’s Universal Service Fund (USF) to prioritize buildout to areas that currently lack broadband.
The bill would:
Text of the bill can be found here.
It’s certain North Korea will try to retaliate against the US for seizing one of its coal ships, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner said Thursday.
“The truth is I don’t think they’ve ever stop trying to undermine our security,” the Republican senator said. “Despite previous negotiations, they’ve resumed launching missiles again.”
Gardner is the chairman of the Senate subcommittee on East Asia and he’s been the lead sponsor of tougher US trade sanctions against North Korea.
US officials seized a North Korean coal freighter Thursday reportedly for violating US bans on exports. Gardner said he didn’t know about the seizure in advance but wasn’t completely surprised.
“I knew the Defense Department intended to ramp up its monitoring of the problem,” he said. “I’m pleased the (Trump) administration is serious about enforcement.”
China is another offender in that it offloads North Korean ships at sea to avoid international monitoring, he said.
Gardner expects the US to demand concessions from North Korea in order to recover the 17,000-ton freighter. What those would include, he didn’t speculate.
Cyberattacks on US companies, computer networks and even electric utilities have been traced back to North Korean computer hackers in recent years.
Gardner said that whatever demands the US makes, getting the USS Pueblo returned should be on the list. The Navy spy ship was seized by North Korea in January 1968 and it has held the ship ever since.
Rep. Scott Tipton, the Republican who represents Pueblo and the 3rd Congressional District, said North Korea should be treated with great skepticism. It has repeatedly shown disdain for any long-term commitments.
“The US should do everything possible to avoid any escalation of military tensions while also holding Kim Jong-Un accountable for his hostile actions,” Tipton said in a statement. “Perhaps the return of the USS Pueblo and the remains of US servicemembers and the return of the North Korean ship could be a first step for North Korea to show their commitment to progress.”Read More
The U.S. Department of Interior is asking Congress to let it spend $10.5 million in the next fiscal year for purposes including continuing to pursue moving some agency headquarters out West, including the Bureau of Land Management's.
That's according to written testimony Interior Secretary David Bernhardt provided this week to the House Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee. U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton and U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, both Republicans, welcomed the further affirmation of the department's plans to move the BLM west, as they continue to hope it ends up being headquartered in Grand Junction.
In Bernhardt's written testimony, he said Interior is asking for $10.5 million for relocation efforts and also for "Regional Stand Up," apparently a reference to the department's work consolidating many of its bureaus' operations into 12 unified regions. It's also asking for a separate $12.1 million specifically for implementation of that unified-region approach.
Bernhardt said in his written testimony, "In 2019, we are analyzing options to relocate more operations out West, where the preponderance of bureau assets and acres are located, to better serve our customers. As part of the planning, we are considering relative cost, accessibility, and the specific functions where it makes sense to be closer to field assets."
In speaking to the subcommittee, Bernhardt referred to comments by U.S. senators in 1936, in authorizing creation of the Interior deputy secretary position, demanding that the secretary or deputy secretary spend more than half their time out West.
"So I think this is an issue that we've thought about for a long time," he said. "And so I think there's room to think and continue to think, and interest in moving certain headquarters elements west and we want to do that."
Bernhardt himself has Western — and specifically western Colorado — roots, having grown up in Rifle.
On April 30, Scott Cameron, an Interior deputy assistant secretary, said in written testimony to a House panel that a U.S. Geological Survey headquarters relocation planning effort is focused on the Denver area, and Interior is exploring possible locations for a future BLM headquarters and hopes to decide on a city later this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.
Tipton said in a news release, "Since most BLM lands are located in Western states, moving the BLM closer is just common sense. I am thankful for the Secretary's consideration and determination to make the relocation a reality. Ideally, we'd like to see the location in Grand Junction, but having the federal decision-making process brought closer to those it affects will ultimately benefit all who cherish public lands and responsible multiple use."
Gardner said in the same release, "The Interior Department's confirmation that they plan to move ahead with their plans to relocate the Bureau of Land Management headquarters to the West is great news."
For all of Gardner and Tipton's hopes of seeing a Grand Junction address associated with the BLM's national office, U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, offered a reminder during this week's hearing that other states also are interested in becoming the BLM headquarters' new home.
"If you're going to move BLM headquarters, Utah's a great place," Stewart told Bernhardt with a slight smile. "We'd certainly welcome you and we can argue the benefits of that but Mr. Simpson would agree with me, I'm sure," Stewart said.
He was teasing his Republican colleague on the subcommittee, Rep. Mike Simpson of Idaho.
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representative Scott Tipton (R-CO) cosposored a bill, The Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2019, introduced by U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.). This bill offers a solution to the growing economic and environmental threats of catastrophic wildfires. Other cosponsors include U.S. Reps. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-Penn.), Chris Stewart (R-Utah), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Don Young (R-Alaska), Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.), Paul Cook (R-Calif.), John Curtis (R-Utah), Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), Russ Fulcher (R-Ida.), Greg Walden (R-Ore.), Greg Gianforte (R-Mont.), Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) and Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) cosponsored the bill.
“Colorado is fortunate to have over 7.1 million acres of forested lands, many of which are managed by the U.S. Forest Service and BLM. Unfortunately, many of these forests have been devasted by fires in recent years due to drought and insect infestation,” Tipton said. “These threats are exacerbated by a lack of proactive forest management. Providing federal agencies with the tools they need to engage in proactive management strategies will ensure that communities and wildlife habitat are protected and these forest lands are around for future generations to enjoy. I am glad to be a cosponsor of this important legislation.”
The Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2019 pairs targeted forest management reforms with needed regulatory streamlining to dramatically improve the health and resiliency of forests and rangelands. The bill provides federal land management agencies immediate tools to increase the pace, scale and cost efficiency of forest management projects, without sacrificing environmental protections. Westerman introduced similar legislation in the 115th Congress with bipartisan support, and several provisions were signed into law as part of the omnibus and Farm Bill packages.
The bill utilizes tools that the United States Forest Service (USFS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) can implement immediately to mitigate insect and disease infestation, prevent damage to municipal watersheds and critical infrastructure, quickly harvest wildfire-killed trees to pay for reforestation and improve the health of forests and grasslands to reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfire.
It also streamlines environmental reviews of projects for the removal of dead trees to pay for reforestation after large wildfires, requires an Environmental Assessment for a reforestation project, and encourages and speeds wildlife habitat improvement for wild turkey, ruffed grouse, elk, deer and other “early seral” forest-dependent species.
Click here to read the full bill text.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03) sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo today requesting that control of the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington be turned over to the Venezuelan people and the government of interim President Juan Guaidó. Currently, radicals from the group Code Pink, are illegally occupying the embassy and preventing Venezuelans citizens and representatives of the internationally recognized interim president of Venezuela from entering. Code Pink is a longtime supporter of Venezuelan Dictator Nicolas Maduro and his predecessor Hugo Chavez.
In part the letter reads:
“The United States must remain strong in its support of the Venezuelan people and the legitimate government of interim President Juan Guaidó. I want to thank you for your leadership during this critical time. I am concerned that the Venezuelan people and the government of interim President Guaidó are being prevented from entering their embassy in Washington, DC. As you are aware, the embassy is currently being illegally occupied by a small group of radical pro-Maduro Code Pink activists. It is an injustice to the Venezuelan people that they are unable to enter their embassy because this group of American extremists is preventing their access. Just this week, Ambassador Carlos Vecchio spoke in front of the embassy to supporters but was unable to enter despite being recognized by the United States as the legitimate Ambassador from Venezuela…
…I respectfully urge that the Venezuelan Embassy be returned to the Venezuelan people and the legitimate government of Venezuela led by interim President Juan Guaidó as soon as possible, and that those who have been illegally occupying the embassy face the full consequences of their actions under the law.”
The full version of the letter is available here.
Nicolas Maduro declared victory in a fraudulent May 2018 presidential election that has been rejected by a majority of the Venezuelan people and by nations around the world. As a result, in adherence with article 233 of the Venezuelan Constitution, the president of the Venezuelan National Assembly and opposition leader Juan Guaidó assumed the role of interim president of Venezuela, challenging Maduro’s legitimacy. The U.S. is leading within a strong coalition of over 50 nations in standing with the people of Venezuela, recognizing the authority of Interim President Guaidó , and supporting the people’s fight for fair elections and the end of socialist rule. Interim President Guaidó has called for free elections, the restoration of democratic institutions, and has for the first time in many years brought hope back to the people of Venezuela.
The humanitarian and economic crisis the country is experiencing today began under the rule of Hugo Chávez who, when elected in 1998, commandeered the entire government, dissolving the bicameral Congress and creating a unicameral National Assembly and rewriting the constitution so that he could retain perpetual power. Over the next 14 years, Chávez restricted the freedoms and rights of citizens, imprisoned political enemies, stole billions from the treasury, nationalized private companies and industries and ran most of them to the ground. In 2003, the government became the provider of currency and set price controls, leading to corruption and the death of the few private industries that still existed. Before his death, Chávez handpicked Nicolás Maduro to succeed him, and under Maduro, Chávez’s legacy of socialist rule, graft and authoritarianism has continued. Today, Venezuela’s currency is worthless, its citizens struggle to find food, access to basic health care and medicine is virtually non-existent, and the military has been weaponized against the people.
Mass protests in recent years have frequently filled the streets in Caracas and throughout the country where citizens have called for free elections and an end to the incredible pain and suffering that has been inflicted on them by the Chávez and Maduro regimes. Hundreds of protestors have been killed by the government, and many thousands more have been injured and/or imprisoned.
Code Pink members have been occupying the Venezuelan Embassy for weeks.Read More
218 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Congressman Scott Tipton was raised in Cortez, Colorado. He graduated from Ft. Lewis College in Durango, where he studied Political Science and became the first person in his family to earn a college degree. After college, he returned home to Cortez and co-founded Mesa Verde Indian Pottery with his brother Joe. It was through his business that Scott met his wife, Jean, who is a former school teacher. The Tipton’s have two daughters, Liesl and Elizabeth, and two sons-in-law, Chris and Jace.
After a lifetime running his small business, Scott was elected as a Republican to the Colorado House of Representatives for the 58th District in November of 2008. During his time at the state House, he worked to ensure quality water for the people of Colorado and to improve the air quality of Southwest Colorado. He also sponsored legislation to protect children from the worst criminal offenders by mandating harsher penalties for child sex-offenders and allowing law enforcement to collect DNA evidence from suspects through Jessica’s Law and Katie’s Law.
Scott was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010 and again in 2012 for a second term.
In the 112th Congress, Scott pushed hard to advance a federal version of Katie’s Law to encourage additional states to implement minimum DNA collection standards and enhanced collection processes for felons in order to strengthen law enforcement’s ability to prevent violent crimes, and protect women and children. That effort became a reality when the President signed Katie’s Law on January 3, 2013.
Using his positions on the House Natural Resources, Agriculture and Small Business Committees, Scott has is fighting for the issues that most directly impact Coloradans, many of which involve our state’s extensive open spaces and natural resources. In his first term, Scott introduced legislation to encourage healthy forest management and prevent wildfire, as well as passed a bill in the House with bipartisan support to advance the development of clean, renewable hydropower. He is also leading the charge in Congress to stop a federal grab of privately-held water rights, standing up for farmers and ranchers, the ski industry, and all who rely on their water rights to survive.
Scott is champion of advancing an all-of-the-above energy solution that balances common sense conservation with responsible development. He passed the Planning for American Energy Act through the House (as a title under the American Domestic Energy and Jobs Act) to put requirements into place to develop wind, solar, hydropower, geothermal, oil, natural gas, coal, oil shale and minerals, based on the needs of the American people.
Scott has used his experience as a small businessman to inform his work as a Subcommittee Chairman on the Small Business Committee. Here he has worked to protect farmers and ranchers from regulatory overreach, as well as push for expanded trade opportunities for Colorado products. Scott is a co-founder of the Congressional Small Business Caucus, a bipartisan caucus committed to open dialogue on the issues that most impact small businesses. Members of the Congressional Small Business Caucus are dedicated to advancing efforts to foster the economic certainty needed for small businesses and entrepreneurs to succeed and create jobs.
In the 113th Congress, Scott continues to represent the many interests of one of the most diverse and geographically vast districts in the nation. He will fight to bring Colorado common sense to Washington—focusing on reforming regulation, protecting Colorado’s natural environment, encouraging responsible all-of-the-above energy development, reducing government spending, and removing hurdles so that small businesses can do what they do best—create jobs.
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Today the House will consider H. Res. 354, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment's passage. I am… https://t.co/3xVpxl9e9x