Beetle battle to get more funds |

Beetle battle to get more funds

Nicole Formosa
Vail, CO Colorado

FRISCO ” A stack of trees killed by the mountain pine beetle and plucked from the Frisco Peninsula’s dying forest will serve as a backdrop Tuesday as Gov. Bill Ritter signs a bill meant to help communities battle the bugs.

“That location will be perfect to highlight the bark beetle phenomenon we have in the High Country,” said Gibbs, who selected the site for the signing.

Ritter will sign two additional bills sponsored by Eagle County’s freshman state Rep. Dan Gibbs, a Democrat who lives in Silverthorne. One increases fines for truckers who don’t put on chains during snowstorms and the other says gas and oil companies must prevent damage to the environment where they operate.

Gibbs’ forest restoration bill will set up a $1 million cost-sharing program to help communities protect watersheds and homes from catastrophic wildfire as a result of damage done by the pine beetle.

“It’s important to the governor that he signs the bill where they will have the most impact,” Ritter’s spokesperson Evan Dreyer said. “Because of timing, logistics and scheduling the vast majority will get signed in the Capitol. To the extent that he is able to sign the bill in the area that will do the most good, he will do that.”

The governor’s half-hour stop at the Peninsula is the first in a series of West Slope visits scheduled for Tuesday. He will continue on to Glenwood Springs and Grand Junction for additional signings in the afternoon.

Since the governor’s trip to Frisco was confirmed earlier this week, Gibbs has been polling longtime locals to figure out the last time a governor traveled to Summit County for a bill signing, but so far, no one has been able to recall such an event.

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