The Jordan Cove project is a liquefied natural gas export facility that will allow natural gas to be extracted in western Colorado before being exported via Coos Bay, Oregon. If the project is approved, it will create hundreds of jobs throughout the Rocky Mountains that will aid in stabilizing regional economies for decades to come.

Op-Ed by Rose Pugliese

Once again, the Trump Administration is really listening to the unified voices of several Western Slope counties. A few weeks ago, I traveled to Washington, D.C., along with several other Western Slope leaders, including Commissioner Mike Samson of Garfield County, Commissioner Don Cook of Moffat County, Commissioner Shawn Bolton of Rio Blanco County, and Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado Executive Director Bonnie Petersen.

The trip centered around meetings with high-level Trump Administration officials, including the Department of the Interior, the Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs and the Department of Energy. We came with a very robust agenda: moving the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) office from Washington, D.C. to Grand Junction; our continued support for the Jordan Cove project; and ways to work with the Trump Administration to market our Western Colorado natural gas overseas.

Mesa County Colorado Commissioner Rose Pugliese

With respect to our discussion about moving the BLM headquarters to Grand Junction, we shared with the Administration that moving the office to Grand Junction presents an affordable, practical option because of our location, which offers easy access by air and highway. However, most importantly, having the people who are making decisions about the management of our natural resources living in our communities would lead to better and more comprehensive management decisions. The move would also transfer hundreds of jobs to Grand Junction, which presents an opportunity to aid in the recovery of Mesa County’s distressed economy.  We urged them to use their power to comply with their statutory mandate to manage federal lands by multiple uses and in a manner which encourages the development of our domestic natural resources.

There have been discussions with Front Range Colorado counties about moving the BLM office to their counties. While moving the BLM office to Colorado is a win for our state as a whole, it is not necessarily the best placement because those communities do not deal with federal land issues on a daily basis nor do they understand the economic impacts on a county that is 72% public lands, such as Mesa County.

One of the most productive and exciting meetings for me was with high ranking Trump Administration officials in the Department of Energy. We spoke about the abundance of natural gas resources in western Colorado, and the potential for international relationships, particularly with Asia if plans for the Jordan Cove project move forward. This meeting was vital because if we can get Trump Administration officials, along with trade ministers from Asia and Eastern Europe, to understand our natural gas resources, they can then speak on the Western Slope’s behalf when engaging with other countries and with their constituencies. We believe that geopolitical stabilization can be achieved by supporting the export of natural gas to our allies.

Our goal was to make the Trump Administration officials understand how marketing our natural gas resources overseas fits perfectly within President Trump’s agenda for the United States to achieve not just energy independence, but also energy dominance. By receiving the commitment by Department of Energy officials to assist our counties in working a trade mission, I think we definitely met our goal. But, there is still work to do to get a trade mission organized and we are working diligently, alongside the Trump Administration, to make it happen.

Western Colorado counties and leaders remain active in advocating nationally for the Jordan Cove project to be approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The Jordan Cove project is a liquefied natural gas export facility that will allow natural gas to be extracted in western Colorado before being exported via Coos Bay, Oregon. If the project is approved, it will create hundreds of jobs throughout the Rocky Mountains that will aid in stabilizing regional economies for decades to come.

Jordan Cove is one of the most bipartisan infrastructure projects in the nation. The project has been endorsed with the bipartisan support of both of Colorado’s U.S. Senators. The export project is endorsed by Colorado’s Democratic Governor and its Republican-controlled State Senate.

Opening global markets to Colorado is one of the keys to our long-term, stable and successful economic future. Our Western Colorado counties are appreciative of the support shown by President Trump’s Administration for natural gas exports. The United States must be an energy leader around the world. Supporting the export of natural gas to the global market is an important step that will benefit our country greatly.  It will also help rural energy communities create long-term jobs.

A constituent the other day asked me about this recent trip to Washington, D.C. I told him how refreshing it is to go and talk to Trump Administration officials who are committed to working with rural communities to secure our economic vitality. It has been a long time since I felt like many of our western Colorado counties have had a strong voice in Washington, D.C. I no longer dread the trip. I look forward to discussing the opportunities for Mesa County and many of our western Colorado counties together with the Trump Administration.

Thank you, President Trump, for listening.

Rose Pugliese

Mesa County Commissioner

Commissioner Rose Pugliese is a wife, mom and a dedicated member of the community who is committed to transparent, accessible government and is accountable to the people she serves. In addition to serving as a Mesa County Commissioner, Rose, is an advocate for the community and is involved in many of the organizations that work together to grow the economy in Mesa County, Colorado.


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