The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Jayson O'Neill, Deputy Director

Western Values Project

(406) 200-8582

Trump Visit Comes as Administration's Corruption Plagues Colorado Public Lands

Watchdog group’s report found alarming instances of revolving doors and reckless decisions have hurt Coloradans.


When President Donald Trump makes a campaign stop today in Colorado Springs, he is likely to brag about how much he has helped Coloradans. But a recent report from Western Values Project (WVP) -- an Accountable.US project based in Montana, defending America's public lands -- found just the opposite to be true. WVP's report discovered that a revolving-door of staff, as well as huge campaign contributions to the President and his allies, have paved the way for special interests to jeopardize some of Colorado's most celebrated landscapes and public lands, hurting Coloradans.

"No one should buy what Donald Trump and his cohorts are selling. The reality is Trump and his billionaire pals are getting richer by shutting the rest of us out of our American birthright," said Deputy Director of Western Values Project Jayson O'Neill. "Under Trump, extractive corporations and special interests have been getting sweetheart deals while taxpayers foot the bill. With a shady businessman in the White House and a former oil and gas lobbyist managing our public lands, Colorado's iconic outdoor spaces and national parks are at risk. Any member of Congress who cares about these special places and Colorado's growing outdoor economy needs to fight President Trump's war on Colorado's public lands."

Despite repeated claims by the Trump administration that their agencies are listening to the communities and voices closest to decisions, news reports found that officials in Washington, D.C. overturned a Colorado Bureau of Land Management (BLM) planning decision that was crafted with and supported by state and local entities.

The Trump administration has done little to prove its at all interested in public input contrary to the administration's public lands drilling, mining, and development push. Recently, in Garfield County, Colorado, bipartisan lawmakers have alleged that the BLM is not being open about the environmental assessment on a proposed mining project. The agency has not provided an update for months to Garfield County on the proposed project, despite widespread concern. Ironically, one Garfield County elected official, County Commissioner John Martin, was actually an endorser of the BLM move.

Additionally, WVP's report found:

  • One company, which employs a lobbying firm with close ties to Trump, got unusually quick approval to mine coal in Colorado after it promised to support the construction of the President's controversial border wall.
  • Corporations that have given hundreds of thousands of dollars to the President's congressional allies are amongst the top drillers of public lands in the state. Many of the same corporations have seen staff take jobs in this corrupt administration.
  • The President and his former oil and gas lobbyist turned-Interior Secretary David Bernhardt have tried to remove protections on millions of acres of public land in critical wildlife habitat.
  • Even worse, the Trump administration wants to privatize the way public lands and national parks are run, which could lead to increased fees for public lands users.

WVP's report on Colorado is just one in a series of recently released reports on how Trump administration corruption is hurting Western States, including Arizona, Montana, and New Mexico. Supporting materials for the Colorado report can be downloaded here.

Western Values Project brings accountability to the national conversation about Western public lands and national parks conservation - a space too often dominated by industry lobbyists and their allies in government.