Feds propose new rules for operating drones

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FORT scientist and Raven-A sUAS pilot Leanne Hanson launches the drone in the San Luis Valley as part of an effort to monitor sandhill cranes. USGS photo.

FAA taking public comment for 60 days

Staff Report

FRISCO — With everyone from ski movie makers to wedding photographers and wildlife biologists getting in on the drone craze, the airspace above the U.S. is getting even more crowded.

To help manage the boom in the use of unmanned aircraft systems, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration have released a new set of draft rules open for public comment. At the same time, the White House released a presidential memorandum that addresses civil rights and privacy issues associated with drone operations. Continue reading

Senate releases CIA torture report

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A chilling chapter in American history.

U.S. agents and contractors operated well outside the law, lied to Congress and the American people on torture of terror suspects

Staff Report

FRISCO — Top U.S. intelligence officials lied, mislead Congress and blocked oversight efforts as they sought to prevent American citizens from learning about how government agencies and private contractors detained and tortured terror suspects in the early 2000s.

“The release of the executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s study of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program is an historic victory for our nation, the Constitution, and our system of checks and balances,” said Senator Mark Udall (D-Colo.). Continue reading

Public lands: Industry groups once again challenge 20-year uranium mining ban around the Grand Canyon

Uranium mining near the Grand Canyon? Some Senate Republicans think it's a good idea.

Uranium mining near the Grand Canyon? Say it ain’t so!

Industry groups once again appeal 20-year moratorium in court

Staff Report

FRISCO— Mining companies just won’t give up their dream of exploiting public lands around the Grand Canyon to profit from uranium mining.

Last week, the the National Mining Association and the American Exploration & Mining Association went back to court to try and overturn a 20-year moratorium on uranium mining that covers about 1 million acres in the region. Continue reading

Congress eyes widespread public land pay-to-play fees

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More public land fees ahead?

‘Stealth’ bill pending in House after passing committee without a hearing

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — In a classic bit of stealth lawmaking, House Resources Committee chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA) last month opened the door for more widespread recreation day use fees on federal lands.

Without a committee hearing, Hastings sent HR 5204 (The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Modernization Act of 2014) to the floor of the House, where it could, according to critics, become law without any public hearing at all as a rider to a budget bill. Continue reading

Udall urges CIA to come clean on torture program

Obama administration has yet to authorize release of a congressional report on ‘wrongheaded’ and ‘misguided’ detention and interrogation program

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — There’s little doubt that the detention and interrogation program used in the war on terror violates international law. And with the Obama administration still refusing to come clean, Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) pressed for a full and transparent accounting of the program during a confirmation hearing for CIA General Counsel nominee Caroline Diane Krass.

Udall said that, before he can support her nomination, he needs additional information and assurances relating to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s landmark study on the CIA’s detention and interrogation program. Udall has been a leading voice in Congress for the White House and CIA to come clean about the agency’s deeply flawed detention and interrogation program. Continue reading

New effort launched to curb NSA snooping

EFF version of NSA logo

Civil liberties advocates created their own version of the NSA logo to make their point. Image courtesy Electronic Frontier Foundation.

‘We have now seen that secret, domestic surveillance programs at the National Security Agency have crossed the line’

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Along with colleagues from Wisconsin and Oregon, Senator Mark Udall (D-Colo.) is leading a new effort to curb overly eager spy agencies from invading the privacy and abusing the civil liberties of people who have absolutely no connection with terrorism.

Udall and U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)  introduced the Freedoms and Privacy Act of 2013, legislation that strengthens transparency, oversight and accountability on National Security Agency domestic surveillance.

“Following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, we learned about the importance of sharing information about international terrorism between intelligence agencies and law enforcement,” Udall said. “But we need to ensure that any personal information collected on innocent Americans with no connection to terrorism or espionage is shared appropriately with law enforcement entities. We need strong, appropriate privacy protections,” he said. Continue reading

House GOP tries to heist federal water rights

Radical anti-environmental GOP leaders seek to privatize water

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Tenmile Creek flows through the White River National Forest near Frisco, Colorado, helping to sustain aquatic ecosystems. bberwyn photo.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Anti-environmental House Republicans are at it again, this time trying to pull of one of the greatest heists of all time by passing a law that would ban agencies like the National Park Service and the Forest Service from exerting any control over water flowing off federal lands.

House Resolution 3189, the so-called Water Rights Protection Act, wouldn’t actually protect any water; instead, it would open the door for more private development of water for fracking and urban development by prohibiting “the conditioning of any permit, lease or any other use agreement on the transfer, relinquishment, or other impairment of any water right to the United States by the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture.” Continue reading

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