Throughout nearly 10 years of disputes over oil and gas leases in the Thompson Divide, one man’s name has been both prominent and, because of the bureaucratic nature of the fight, somewhat unknown and unexplained to the public until recently — Peter Hart, an attorney working with the Wilderness Workshop (WW) nonprofit organization in Carbondale.

As an attorney and environmental activist, and scion of a family that has deep roots in the kind of extractive industries he is now fighting against, Hart might seem something of a contradiction to some observers.

Hart explained that his family goes back to the early days of Colorado’s history, adding that his father, grandfather and great-grandfather all were attorneys, who mostly worked in the prevalent industrial arenas of the day — mining and water.

In fact, he continued, one of his great-grandfathers, John L. Jerome, was “a principal at Colorado Fuel & Iron,” the company of John C. Osgood that built the village of Redstone and initiated the coal mining activities in the Crystal River drainage that continued until the 1990s.

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