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New wilderness push launched in Congress

U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette introduces far-reaching conservation bill

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A wilderness bill pending in Congress would protect about 750,000 acres in Colorado.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Facing an uphill battle in Congress, U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (CO-1) this week launched a new push for more wilderness in Colorado. The Colorado Wilderness Act of 2013 would protect 31 wilderness areas and two potential wilderness areas, totaling about 750,000 acres, across the state. Continue reading

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Colorado lawmakers ask feds to back off on marijuana

Congressional delegation readies bill that would exempt Colorado from federal Controlled Substances Act

Will Colorado and the federal government find common ground?

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Federal enforcement actions in Colorado against individuals for possession of marijuana would be a bad idea, Democratic Congressman Jared Polis said Friday.

Along with 15 other Democratic congressmen, Polis sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and DEA chief Michele Leonhart, urging the federal government to take no action against anyone who acts in compliance with the laws of Colorado, Washington and any other states that choose to regulate access to marijuana. Continue reading

Polis, DeGette to speak at Democratic convention

Colorado once again a key swing state

U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette

U.S. Rep. Jared Polis.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO —During a convention that will probably spend a lot of time trying to solidify the diverse Democratic political base, will feature an early speech by Congressman Jared Polis making a plea for unity and inclusiveness — as well as a new Democratic majority in Congress.

“Diversity is part of America’s strength, but so is the fact that we are all, first and foremost, Americans who believe that if you play by the rules and work hard, you can get ahead and succeed,” said Polis, who represents Summit County citizens as part of his district.

Congresswoman Diana DeGette is also scheduled to speak.

“My message to the convention will be that we must heal divisions–not exploit them for political gain, and unite behind the common goal of strengthening our economy, creating jobs, and forging a better future for ourselves and our families.”

The Polis speech is set for Sept. 4 between 5:45 and 6:30 p.m.

In early proceedings the Hispanic caucus met Monday, with 800 delegates gathered, by some accounts the largest Latino presence at any convention.

A high turnout among Latino voters could be crucial in tipping a few swing states in Obama’s favor, including Colorado.

Illinois State Senator Iris Martinez said the caucus is focused on making that “no Latino stays home on Election Day.”

Colorado celebrates Great Outdoors Week

Dylan and Comet Berwyn enjoy a fine outdoors morning near Moab. Celebrate Great Outdoors Week — go camping!

Conservation activists and outdoor enthusiasts organize daily hikes and highlight threats to roadless areas

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Colorado outdoor enthusiasts are celebrating the second annual Great Outdoors Week (Aug. 20-28) with a series of fun hikes and educational events aimed at highlighting potential threats to cherished backcountry areas.

A fierce Washington, D.C. ideological battle over public lands management, as well as continued controversy over a proposed Colorado roadless rule, serve as a backdrop for the activities, with Representative Diana DeGette highlighting what she describes as a special interest-driven attack on protections for backcountry areas.

“Here in Colorado, while my constituents and I are working with the Forest Service to keep the best of our backcountry forests protected, some in Congress are pushing on behalf of special interests to take those protections away entirely,” said DeGette. “Coloradans depend on these areas for our drinking water, our outdoor economy and our cherished way of life, and they must be preserved.”

In July, the House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on H.R. 1581, introduced by House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California, which would take away protections for national forest lands and Wilderness Study Areas, opening up an area the size of Wyoming to large-scale development.  Continue reading

Energy: The FRAC Act is back in Congress

A U.S. Government map shows where there are potential reserves of natural gas captured in shale and sand.

Proposed law would require disclosure of chemicals used in controversial gas-driling technique and end a Bush-era exemption from the drinking water regulations

By Summit Voice

Follow Summit Voice on Twitter for the most up-to-date news feed.

SUMMIT COUNTY — Residents of natural gas patches around the country who have seen their drinking water polluted to the point that it sometimes catches fire would get some relief under the FRAC Act.

The proposed law, introduced this week in Congress for the third time, would require energy companies to disclose chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, and most importantly, close a loophole that exempts drilling operators from drinking water regulations. Continue reading

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