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Colorado: No more money to study Flaming Gorge pipeline

green river

The Green River in Wyoming. Photo courtesy USGS.

Colorado Water Conservation Board ends funding for task force studying proposal to divert water from Wyoming to Front Range

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — An oft-discussed proposal to build a 500-mile pipeline from Wyoming’s Flaming Gorge Reservoir to the Colorado Front Range may have taken a body blow this week, as the Colorado Water Conservation Board voted to cut off funding for a task force studying the plan.

Front Range developer Aaron Million has been touting the giant project as a way to alleviate pressure on the mainstem of the Colorado River and deliver water where it’s needed most.

In several applications to federal regulators, Million also suggested the pipeline could generate power while shunting water to Colorado. There hasn’t been a huge amount of public support for the project, but Colorado water officials, anxious to consider all options, decided to at least take a preliminary look at the idea. Continue reading

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Colorado: Stuart Hole fire at 200 acres, no containment

Hot and windy weather adds to fire woes

SUMMIT COUNTY — Record high temperatures (94 degrees in Denver) and winds Monday fueled a new wildfire on the Colorado Front Range. The Stuart Hole Fire had grown to more than 200 acres by late in the day, burning in grasslands and ponderosa pine stands, according to Larimer County officials, who are updating information on the fire at the county website.

The fire was first reported at about 5 to 7 acres early afternoon, burning southwest of Halligan Reservoir, south of Co. Rd 82 E, just south of Wyoming state line and west of Highway 287. Emergency officials immediately ordered a single-engine tanker plane to repond to the fire. Continue reading

Colorado: Front Range wildfires claim one life

Lower North Fork Fire grows to 3,000 acres

Widespread red flag fire danger warnings were in effect March 26.

An air tanker working a Front Range wildfire in 2010. PHOTO COURTESY USFS.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — It didn’t take any lightning or beetle-killed trees for a spate of dangerous wildfires to break out across the Colorado Front Range, just a few weeks of unusually warm weather and a day of high winds, with a red flag fire warning in effect for large parts of Colorado. Fire news from official sources and from residents is streaming on Twitter at #CoFires.

Aerial video streaming live at Denver’s Channel 9 website.

And one of the fires turned deadly late Monday, as the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office confirmed one death in the 3,000-acre Lower North Fork fire zone, where numerous residents have been evacuated. Fire officials also confirmed that several structures have been destroyed by the wind-driven fires, but exactly how many homes were burned is still unclear. Continue reading

In a federal court settlement, BLM agrees to do more air quality studies on Colorado Front Range gas drilling

A Jan. 17 court-ordered settlement on gas drilling air quality impacts covers all of eastern Colorado.

Federal agency will do full emissions inventory, evaluate ozone impacts in permitting process

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Front Range residents will get better information about air quality impacts from gas drilling, as the Bureau of Land Management has agreed to do more studies before permitting additional energy development. The studies will include a full inventory of emissions anticipated during the next 20 years.

The agreement came as part of a court-ordered settlement of a lawsuit filed by WildEarth Guardians.

“This is a great news for clean air along the Front Range and beyond, which is increasingly at risk because of ramped up drilling and fracking,” said WildEarth Guardians climate and energy program director Jeremy Nichols. “The BLM has basically agreed to look before it leaps, which is a common sense approach to keeping people in Colorado safe from air pollution.” Continue reading

Colorado: Proponent of regional water pipeline seeks to switch permitting agencies to expedite review process

The proposed pipeline would carry water 560 miles from Wyoming to the Front Range. MAP COURTESY WESTERN RESOURCE ADVOCATES. Click on the image to visit Western Resource Advocates online.

Aaron Million wants to build a pipeline to carry water from Wyoming to Front Range

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Planning for a pipeline project that could deliver Green River water from Flaming Gorge Reservoir in Wyoming to the Colorado Front Range has been moving slowly, and now, Aaron Million, the project’s proponent, has said he wants to speed the process by switching the review and permitting process from the purview of the Army Corps of Engineers to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Million has been touting the pipeline for many years , but it’s not clear if the project is viable financially, or if it could deliver as much water as promised. The Corps of Engineers project page is online here.

Several regional and state groups have taken early looks at the proposal, but as yet, nobody has stepped forth to fully claim and embrace the long-distance pipeline. According to one review by the Colorado Water Conservation Board, construction could cost $7.4 billion, with annual operating costs of $170 million. Continue reading

Spring wildfire potential high across southern U.S.

Below normal precipitation and warmer than average temps will up the significant wildfire potential across a broad swath of the country from the south-central to the southeastern states.

La Niña continues to affect spring weather across the country; drought areas grow

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A trio of related factors will combine to keep the fire danger above average in the Southeast and south-central portions of the country during the spring, according to the forecast from the National Interagency Fire Center.

La Niña conditions that bring warmer and dry conditions to the southern tier of states and in the southern and central Great Plains will increase significant fire potential, while persistent drought across parts of the southern and central U.S. and the mid-Atlantic seaboard will also up the potential for wildfires.

The fire center also says that fuels have been unusually dry across the southern tier of states, expanding areas of “above normal” significant fire potential westward across across southern New Mexico and into southeast Arizona and northward into the Colorado Front Range central plains. Increasing fuel dryness is also expected to expand northward from Florida to the southern and mid-Atlantic seaboard. A warmer-than average February prevailed across parts of the intermountain west and the mid-Atlantic states. Near normal or colder than typical temperatures were observed elsewhere. Continue reading

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