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Tipton talks in La Veta

by Brian Manning
LA VETA — Congressman Scott Tipton held a Town Hall meeting in the La Veta library on Saturday at 2 p.m. He was met by a demonstration staged by numerous people who are against hydraulic fracking in Huerfano County. They carried signs, and one of the demonstrators said that a visual statement was better than written statements.
In the meeting Tipton made a brief statement about the need for energy independence and getting people back to work. He said that he was puzzled about why the president has given two billion dollars to Brazil so they could drill in their country for oil.
Scott then took questions and was asked why he took money from oil companies, and he stated that money was needed to get his word out and that was no different than taking money from unions or large businesses. He was also asked how he would protect the health and safety of the residents and the environment from fracking.
There were questions about the tax system and Scott said that he was in favor of eliminating loopholes, lowering the corporate tax rate and having a simplified tax code that would be fair to everyone.
One woman stated that she had concerns about her well and that testing had indicated that there was toluene in her water and that she could not afford to have it tested for all possible chemicals. One ranch owner said that he has survived droughts but lost his water because of drilling. Some ranchers said that they were not opposed to drilling but that it must be done responsibly. One person suggested that companies exploring for oil and gas be required to use a closed loop system for the chemicals, provide barriers for noise, and give up open pits.
Several people expressed their frustration with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC). They felt that this commission does not serve the interests of landowners and that many ranches have been lost due to wells drying up or being contaminated. People have tried litigation with no results.
The meeting lasted about one hour and several people videotaped his presentation.