Appeals court rejects bid to block EPA Clean Power Plan

States free to move ahead with energy transition plans

Mercury from the Craig Station power plant in northwest Colorado pollutes lakes in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Fossil fuel power plants like Craig Station in northwest Colorado will have to clean up their act under the Clean Power Plan. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

A federal appeals court this week rejected a last-ditch effort by fossil fuel companies  to block implementation of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, which is aimed at curbing heat-trapping pollution from power plants.

An anti-environmental coalition of states and fossil fuel companies had sought an emergency stay in federal court, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today denied that request, stating that the petitioners’s claims didn’t meet the legal standard for emergency court action. Continue reading

Mountain lion kills dog in Vail

A mountain lion in Colorado

Wildlife managers are trying to track a mountain lion that killed a dog in Vail. Photo courtesy CPW.

Wildlife officers will try to track and kill the cougar

Staff Report

A mountain lion that wandered into Vail and ate a dog will probably pay the ultimate price for seeking prey in town. Wildlife officers said that, based on the behavior of the lion, it is considered a threat to human health and safety.

“Anytime a lion hunts and finds cover in a residential area, then continues to remain in the area, that is a cause for concern,” said Area Wildlife Manager Perry Will. “In cases like this, we will not hesitate to take the appropriate action to protect human health and safety.”

That means wildlife officers will try to track the animal and kill it.

“Yes, that is what our officers believe is the best course of action,” said CPW spokesman Mike Porras. Continue reading

Weather and climate summit returns to Breckenridge

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Greenland’s ice is melting faster these days, posing a sea level threat to densely populated cities around the world. @bberwyn photo.

This year edition features sessions on Arctic ice melt and western wildfires

Staff Report

There’s a global climate deal on the books, but humankind will continue to grapple with the effects of greenhouse gas emissions for decades to come, including the almost inevitable meltdown of ice sheets and glaciers that will raise sea level steadily.

Scientists aren’t quite sure yet how high the waters will rise, but new measurement tools and more sophisticated models can help refine the projections. Those estimates are important, because two-thirds of the world’s cities have vulnerable populations of five million or more living in at-risk areas, less than 10 meters above sea level, according to Dr. Lora Koenig
a research scientist with the National Snow & Ice Data Center. Continue reading

Climate: New study documents Rocky Mountain meltdown

Changes will affect regional water supplies

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Global warming is fundamentally changing Colorado’s high alpine ecosystems. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

Long-term data from a monitoring station high in the Colorado Rockies is showing remarkable signs of climate change, according to new findings published a special issue of the journal Plant Ecology and Diversity.

The research, conducted west of Boulder, along Niwot Ridge and Green Lakes Valley, shows that the only glacier in the area has been thinning by about three feet per year during the past 15 years.

And careful surveys of alpine vegetation shows that, at one location, the plant community has changed dramatically, with a significant increase in alpine shrubs above treeline in recent decades, according to said ecologist Mark Williams, of the University of Colorado Boulder Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research.

“Places that once harbored magnificent wildflowers are being replaced by shrubs, particularly willows,” Williams said in a press release from the National Science foundation, which helped fund the new study. Continue reading

Colorado starts 2016 with healthy snowpack

Will the storm door stay open?

snowpack mapStaff Report

El Niño has been generous to Colorado this winter, favoring all of the state with near- to above-normal precipitation since the beginning of winter. As of Jan.1, nearly all the state’s river basins were above average, with only the North Platte and the Yampa drainages lagging slightly below normal.

Some past El Nino events have been known to leave the northern half of the state high and dry.

“Statewide snowpack is 118 percent of normal, considerably better than last year’s start” said Brian Domonkos, Colorado Snow Survey Supervisor with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Continue reading

Merry Christmas!

Peace on Earth

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Winter light, Blue River Valley, December 2014. @bberwyn photo.

Wishing a peaceful and joyful holiday season to all Summit Voice readers. Let’s work together in 2016 to make it the best year ever for our fragile environment, and for all our sisters and brothers around the world.

Love and Peace.

Bob Berwyn

 

Forest Service sets public meetings for North Fork coal mining plans

Plan could unleash 36.6 billion tons of greenhouse gases

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A federal judge ordered the U.S. Forest Service to disclose greenhouse gas emissions from a proposed coal mining project in Colorado.

Staff Report

The public will have a chance to weigh in on a U.S. Forest Service proposal to expand coal-mining on public lands in south-central Colorado at two public hearings, Dec. 7 in Paonia and Dec. 9 in Denver.

At issue is a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Colorado Roadless Rule released November 20. The study addresses a recent court ruling that blocked the coal mining expansion in the North Fork Valley, near Paonia, pending more analysis and disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions associated extracting and burning the coal. Continue reading

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