Colorado wants feds to sanction a market-driven sage grouse habitat conservation plan


Colorado hopes that a voluntary market-based conservation program can help protect important habitat for greater sage-grouse. Photo courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Habitat exchange could pay off for Colorado ranchers, developers — and, hopefully, sage grouse

Staff Report

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper says a state program aimed at conserving sage-grouse habitat is ready for primetime. This week, the state sought formal recognition from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the voluntary, market-based conservation plan.

Continue reading

Climate: Not much wiggle room on fossil fuels

The U.S. is the second-largest producer of coal in the world, thanks in part to massive surface mines like this one in Wyoming. Photo courtesy BLM.

The U.S. is the second-largest producer of coal in the world, thanks in part to massive surface mines like this one in Wyoming. Photo courtesy BLM.

New study says most existing reserves must remain unused to prevent catastrophic climate change

Staff Report

FRISCO — While frackers and drillers are trying to squeeze every last drop of fossil fuel out of the ground as fast as they can, that path won’t help meet worldwide goals of limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius.

To prevent catastrophic runaway climate change, humankind must leave a third of all existing oil reserves, half of the planet’s gas reserves and more than 80 percent of current coal reserves in the ground, according to new research by the University College London’s Institute for Sustainable Resources. Continue reading

Colorado: BLM defers touchy North Fork drilling leases

88,000 acres go on auction block next week


A BLM map identifies areas up for oil and gas drilling leases, as well as areas where lease sales have been deferred.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — The Bureau of Land Management will offer up another 90,000 acres of land in Colorado for oil and gas drilling next week, but the agency did defer sales of about 20,000 acres of controversial proposed leases in the North Fork area.

The BLM also deferred the leasing of several parcels along the entrance road to Dinosaur National Monument because the agency doesn’t have a current inventory of the area’s wilderness characteristics, according to Ellyne Bannon, of the Checks and Balances Project.

Details of the upcoming lease sale are at this BLM website. Continue reading

Colorado: South Park to seek federal aquifer protection

Sole source designation could help guard against mining impacts

A typical in-situ uranium mining test-drilling site during the exploration phase. Photo courtesy Save Our South Park Water.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — South Park residents concerned about impacts of uranium mining and other forms of energy development are seeking federal protection for their water supplies under a sole source aquifer designation from the EPA.

The designation would require more in-depth review of any proposed activities that could affect water supplies. Of special concern is uranium mining near Hartsel, as well as potential development of oil and gas resources. The designation could also result in buffers and other protective measures.

Gaining the EPA designation is a multi-step process beginning Sept. 11 with a meeting of the local environmental advisory board. Citizens will offer a petition requesting the South Park county commissioners to sponsor a formal request for the designation to regional, state and federal authorities. Get an overview of the  regional sole source aquifer program at this EPA website. Continue reading

Researchers advocate for stronger Antarctica treaty

Frozen continent facing a slew of potential threats, from energy development to pollution and invasive species

Parts of Antarctica saw a wave of commercial exploitation during the whaling era, and leading scientists warn there could be increased pressure to develop energy resources in coming years. Photo by Bob Berwyn.

By Summit Voice

Antarctica could face the same energy development pressures seen in other parts of the world, says Texas A & M oceanography professor Mahlon “Chuck” Kennicutt II.

As deepwater drilling technologies improve, the coastal reaches of the world’s only uninhabited continent could become an attractive target for energy hungry countries, he said.

Kennicutt, president of the president of the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research, said Antarctica also faces threats from global warming, increased tourism, pollution, overfishing and invasive species.

“Many people may not realize that Antarctica is a like a ‘canary in a coal mine’ when it comes to global warming, and Antarctica serves as a sort of thermostat for Earth,” he said. “The polar regions are the most sensitive regions on Earth to global warming, responding rapidly, so what happens in Antarctica in response to this warming affects the entire Earth system in many ways that we barely understand.” Continue reading

Energy: Too much public land leasing – or not enough?

Gulf of Mexico offshore oil rigs and tracts.

Report shows that energy companies are not maximizing production and exploration in areas already under lease

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Illustrating some of the vexing questions associated with energy development on public lands, the Obama administration this week released a report that details how oil and gas companies aren’t developing the leases, and at the same time, offered new leases for oil shale research and development and details on new offshore drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

It’s probably not surprising that the administration is trying to straddle the fence. Despite the fact that domestic oil and gas production are near or at record highs, President Obama is facing a constant barrage of politically motivated criticism directed at his energy policies that cynically use high gas prices as a clumsy and well-worn political weapon. Continue reading

Protestors hold sit-in at Department of Interior offices

Rocky Mountain residents joined with hundreds of other protesters this week in a march to the U.S. Department of Interior headquarters in Washington, D.C. to call for an end to offshore oil drilling, coal mining and tar sands oil extraction.

Public land energy development policies at issue for new direct-action groups

By Summit Voice

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

SUMMIT COUNTY — Rocky Mountain residents joined with hundreds of other protestors this week in a march to the U.S. Department of Interior headquarters in Washington, D.C. to call for an end to offshore oil drilling, coal mining and tar sands oil extraction.

The march, along with a non-violent sit-in at the Department of Interior offices, suggest that activists are preparing to take the battle over public lands to the next level with a direct action campaign. The rhetoric that accompanied the demonstration shows that there is at least one faction of environmental activists growing impatient with the low-key lobbying by mainstream environmental groups.

“Our demonstration today is to show that Wyoming might be small in population but mighty in heart,” said demonstrator Kevin Uransky, a resident of Wyoming’s coalfields area and a member of High Country Rising Tide.  We don’t want to just stand by and allow big corporations to destroy our homes, our way of life, and some of last open, beautiful, and undeveloped terrain left in the United States. We want to show that Wyoming has a voice not to be drowned out by those of more represented states, we have a voice, we have an opinion, and we want to be heard.” Continue reading


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,955 other followers