We couldn’t help but notice the fracas currently taking place in Glenwood Springs between the leadership of Colorado Mountain College and a company called SourceGas, the area’s natural gas distributor.
For the purpose of context, it’s worth noting that, as a local district college, Colorado Mountain College is predominantly funded by ad valorem tax throughout its service region. Lucky for them, their service region includes one of Colorado’s richest natural gas producing counties (Garfield) and a number of Colorado’s richest resort communities (Vail, Aspen, Steamboat Springs, etc.).
The head-scratching saga currently underway involves a 20 year lease signed by CMC President Stan Jensen last year granting SourceGas the use of a five acre site on a remote piece of property owned by the college to construct a much needed compressor station. Unfortunately, the radical environmentalist element within the student body and the faculty lounge got wind of the deal and blew a gasket.
According to a recent article in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent, the CMC Board of Trustees recently caved in to pressure from students and faculty members and actually voted to nullify the executed contract between CMC and SourceGas. You read that right –an executed contract.
Evidently the CMC Board subscribes to the Hugo Chavez school of thought when it comes to the sanctity of contracts.
What’s particularly troubling about this situation is watching a public entity that’s governed –at least in theory—by an elected Board of Trustees engage in this kind of “Not In My Back Yard” obstruction in an obvious attempt at placating a handful of leftist students and professors who prefer to ignore what it is that keeps the lights on in their sustainable studies courses.
Even worse, no one seems to deny that without this compressor station, residents from Aspen to Vail may very well experience natural gas service disruptions this winter.
While some on the Board suggested that the whole thing could be solved with a mediator, what’s really needed is leadership.
Clearly the President of CMC was incapable of defending his original decision which created an opening for the Trustees to step in and advance their radical agenda.
With the situation headed to court, it is anyones guess how this manuactured controversy turns out.
Regardless, we hope that every resident of the Roaring Fork Valley without heat this winter knows exactly how to reach Mr. Jensen and his Bolivarian Board of Trustees. Perhaps one of them will remind the know-it-alls at CMC that it is responsible energy development – not eco-tourism or Strawberry Days – that pays the bills in Garfield County.