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Many people have submitted comments to the Carson National Forest arguing that Taos Ski Valley Inc.'s proposal to construct a 7,300-foot-long gondola in the ski valley does not fully consider the environmental impacts it would likely have on natural resources.

The public took full advantage of a second, extended comment period regarding the federally-mandated draft environmental assessment of Taos Ski Valley, Inc.'s "Gondola and other improvements" project, with a total of 619 comments submitted electronically to the Carson National Forest.

The vast majority of project comments were submitted after the original comment period ended on April 9. The final day for submitting comments to be considered as part of the project's National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review process, which Questa District Ranger Adam LaDell extended in response to a multitude of requests from the public, was Monday (May 22).

(2) comments

John Stutsman

There is a method to evaluate the impact of any project affecting the water resources of the State of New Mexico. That method is to obtain baseline data of crucial chemical conditions, turbidity, and other physical properties of the water from the Taos Ski Valley down to the confluence of the the Rio Hondo and the Rio Grande, Stations can be established and samples taken to be sent to the Environmental Laboratory for analysis. At the same time water samples of all local wells can be taken to evaluate the nitrate levels throughout the valley to determine ground water degradation due to septic tanks. Ecoli can also be detected during this phase as well thereby providing safe drinking water protections to the public.

Sean Hayes

These regulations can be a double edged sword. There are plenty of projects that need done that get stuck in paperwork limbo. Some are literally decades sitting in red tape. Improvements can be stuck for years by frivolous lawsuits. Thousands of jobs get thrown away. There’s also the inverse, some things steamroll right through when we know it’ll hurt the land. But TSV is a different story. Taos has maintained its identity as unique forever. The ski valley is great, tons of people rely on it economically, but it’s a balancing act to use the area, provide recreation and work without destroying what makes it so great. There are plenty of other environmental experts, firms with no bias either way. If the first EA is deficient, great, USFS should accept the feedback and do it again with a new source. We absolutely cannot take this lightly. If it’s a good project, great. If not, we should know. Get a second opinion.

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