Posted on January 11, 2016 by Bob Berwyn
Results also show support for national monument designation
A new poll shows widespread support for continued protection of public lands like Colorado National Monument. @bberwyn photo.
After a year during which Congress and several western state governments dabbled with the idea of stealing land from citizens of the U.S. and turning it over to states, a new poll shows there is little support for this concept.
The Colorado College State of the Rockies Project Conservation in the West Poll released today shows strong public support for efforts to protect and maintain national public lands. The poll results were released during an uptick in extremist rhetoric and against the backdrop of the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.
For the first time, the poll asked voters directly about efforts to turn public lands owned by all Americans over to state or private control. For now, there’s still a solid majority — 58 percent — oppose such efforts, with 60 percent of respondents opposed selling significant holdings of public lands like national forests to reduce the budget deficit. Continue reading
Filed under: energy, Environment, public lands | Tagged: Environment, Malheur Wildlife Refuge, public lands, sagebrush rebellion, state land grab efforts, wise use movement | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 6, 2016 by Bob Berwyn
Escaping methane seen as climate disaster
The massive California gas leak is made visible by infrared imaging. Video courtesy Environmental Defense Fund.
More than two months after massive amounts of gas started leaking from a storage facility in Aliso Canyon, California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency at the site, ordering state agencies to focus on protecting public health and stopping the flow.
The order is aimed at convincing the public that the state is doing all it can to protect public health and the environment by detailing the government’s ongoing effort to stop the leak.
Some environmental groups said Governor Brown’s declaration comes a little late in the game, and highlights the dangers of fossil fuels.
“This leak has been a state of emergency for the Porter Ranch community and the climate since day one. Governor Brown is right to call it such and to shut down the facility until it is made safe,” said Mark Brownstein, vice president of climate and energy with the Environmental Defense Fund.
At peak measurement, the leak was pumping 72 million cubic feet of methane into the atmosphere and causing, every day, as much climate damage in the next 20 years as 7 million cars on the road. Continue reading
Filed under: climate change, energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, global warming | Tagged: Aliso Canyon, Aliso Canyon gas leak, climate change, global warming environment, methane | 1 Comment »
Posted on December 24, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Colorado voters may have a chance to ban fracking in the 2016 election. @bberwyn photo.
Fracking ban eyed
The battle over fracking will heat up in Colorado next year, as community and activist groups target the 2016 ballot with a series of initiatives aimed at protecting homes, neighborhoods, schools, and water supplies from the dangers associated with fracking operations.
Altogether, there are 11 proposed ballot initiatives, ranging from measures that would require greater setbacks from residential areas through to an outright fracking ban. Each of the proposed constitutional amendments would require signatures from 98,492 registered Colorado voters to get on November’s ballot.
A public hearing on the ballot measure language is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Jan. 5 in Room 109 at the State Capitol. Continue reading
Filed under: energy, Environment, fracking | Tagged: climate change, Colorado, energy, Environment, fossil fuels, fracking, fracking ban | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 23, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
The Four Corners Power Plant in a 1972 photo via Wikipedia.
Climate impacts, environmental justice at issue in looming legal battle
Community and environmental activists say they’ll contest federal approval of continued operations at the giant pollution-spewing Four Corners Power Plant in court.
In a formal notice of their intent to sue, the groups said Office of Surface Mining, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other federal agencies failed to look at clean energy alternatives and didn’t adequately consider the carbon pollution, health and other environmental impacts when they approved operation of the plant last summer. The notice also says the environmental studies didn’t look at water contamination from coal ash waste, and impacts to Navajo culture. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, energy, Environment, global warming | Tagged: climate change, coal, Environment, Four Corners Power Plant, mercury pollution | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 20, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A playa lake at the Baca National Wildlife Refuge. Photo courtesy USFWS.
USFWS taking public comment through Feb. 9
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to update 50-year-old regulations for oil and gas development on National Wildlife Refuge System lands.
Last week the agency published a proposed rule and draft environmental impact statement that would require fossil fuel companies to use modern best management practices, especially as they relate to abandoned infrastructure and debris.
According to the USFWS, the new regs would reduce refuge impacts, including habitat loss and degradation, wildlife mortality and displacement, and other risks to ecological integrity. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling, public lands, wildlife | Tagged: energy, fracking, national wildlife refuges, oil and gas, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, wildlife | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 5, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Plan could unleash 36.6 billion tons of greenhouse gases
A federal judge ordered the U.S. Forest Service to disclose greenhouse gas emissions from a proposed coal mining project in Colorado.
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
Filed under: climate and weather, climate change, Colorado, energy, Environment, global warming, US Forest Service | Tagged: climate change, Colorado, Colorado roadless rule, energy, Fossil fuel, global warming, greenhouse gases, North Fork coal mining, public lands | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 2, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Climate negotiators in Paris are racing against time, as the Earth gets warmer and warmer.
Goals to de-carbonize energy production are at the fore
The world’s political leaders voiced nearly unanimous support for a climate-change agreement during the opening days of the COP21 talks in Paris — what remains to be seen is whether negotiators can deliver on the nitty gritty details needed to seal the deal.
So far, heads of state have presented new renewable energy and financial commitments to boost climate adaptation and resilience. Major initiatives include an African solar energy commitment; an international solar alliance launched by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande; a major private partnership for renewable energy development; and a public initiative launched by 20 countries to double their current existing funding for renewable research and development. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, climate change, energy, Environment, global warming | Tagged: climate change, COP21 Paris, energy, Environment, global warming | 1 Comment »