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Environment: New California fracking report leads to more questions than answers

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A fracking operation in Colorado. bberwyn photo.

Some conclusions flawed by lack of adequate data, environmental advocates say,

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — The battle over fracking probably won’t die down until humankind slurps up the last of the planet’s fossil fuel resources, and a new report by a California agency probably will intensify the debate.

The short-term study shows that fracking could threaten California ground water and pose human health risks, but was characterized as incomplete by environmental groups, who said it’s based on just a few months of data with big information gaps resulting from lack of complete reporting by state regulators. Continue reading

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Environment: NOAA lists 20 coral species as threatened under the Endangered Species Act

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Widespread threats lead to “threatened” listing for 20 coral species under the Endangered Species Act. Photo courtesy NOAA.

Conservation and recovery plans will be crafted in partnership with coastal communities

Staff Report

FRISCO — Twenty types of coral in the Pacific and Caribbean will be listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, federal officials announced this week, citing declines of up to 90 percent in some species. Continue reading

Sunshine Cafe Supper Club: Learn more about how global warming is affecting the Rocky Mountains of Colorado

ss2b&wflowers3Special Sept. 12 dinner at Sunshine Cafe supports local environmental journalism with a presentation on global warming in the Rockies

 

BUY TICKETS HERE.

By Bob Berwyn

 FRISCO — We are following up on our grassroots fundraising campaign with a Sept. 12 dinner event at the Sunshine Cafe (6 p.m., 250 Summit Place shopping center, Silverthorne, CO)  that you don’t want to miss. First of all, the Sunshine Cafe — under new ownership — rarely opens for dinner, so it’s a chance for you to sample the great cooking that makes this a longtime favorite eatery for locals and visitors.

Proceeds from the dinner and a silent auction will benefit Summit Voice and the Beacon Rocky Mountain Climate Ranger environmental journalism project, which takes an in-depth look at how global warming is affecting the Rocky Mountains. The suggested donation for tickets is $50 per person for the dinner with a cash bar for beverages.

You can reserve dinner tickets via PayPal, contact bberwyn@comcast.net or call (970) 331-5996.

We’re still in the middle of the reporting project but we’ll give a presentation covering alpine tundra research at Rocky Mountain National Park, and the growing impacts of Southwest dust storms that are tainting the high country snowpack. We also plan to have a special guest speaker talk about climate change and public lands.

We’ll also be asking what kind of local environmental stories you’d like to see covered right here in Summit County. If we reach our fundraising target from the dinner, we’ll dedicate a month to in-depth reporting right here at home.

Check out some of the early stories from the Climate Ranger project at their home on Beacon Reader.

Good environmental journalism isn’t free. I’ve dedicated years to tracking environmental issues in Summit County and the Rocky Mountains and with your support, I’ll continue to bring you new insights into important stories via Summit Voice and other platforms. Please consider buying tickets to our special dinner or just making a direct donation in support of unbiased, independent environmental journalism.

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Food: Fierce battle expected over Colorado GMO labeling ballot initiative

The best breakfast was this plate of biscuits and gravy at the pet-friendly Fountain Inn motel in Newcastle, Wyoming.

What’s in your food?

National consumer advocacy group joins fray

Staff Report

FRISCO — Coloradans this November will have a chance to decide whether they want to know if their food includes genetically manipulated foods via a ballot initiative (Proposition 105) that would require GMO labeling. Continue reading

Climate: Rethinking the Arctic carbon cycle

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Permafrost processes will play a big role in Earth’s climate for decades to comes.

New findings critical to climate calculations

Staff Report

FRISCO — Sunlight is the key factor in the process of converting Arctic permafrost carbon into atmospheric carbon dioxide, scientists concluded in a new study that could dramatically change the scientific understanding of the planet’s carbon cycle and the consequences of a permafrost meltdown.

The finding is particularly important because climate change could affect when and how permafrost is thawed, which begins the process of converting the organic carbon into CO2. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation and published in the journal Science. Continue reading

Antarctica: Life beneath the ice

Antarctic peak.

Science mission finds microbial life beneath Antarctic ice sheets. bberwyn photo.

Simple organisms process basic elements to survive

Staff Report

FRISCO —Tiny organisms living beneath the vast Antarctic ice fields can convert ammonium and methane into the energy required for growth, surviving in one of the most unlikely environments on Earth, according to scientists who studied a subsurface lake that hasn’t seen sunlight for millions of years.

“We were able to prove unequivocally to the world that Antarctica is not a dead continent,” said Montana State University professor John Priscu, the chief scientist of the U.S. project called WISSARD that sampled the sub-ice environment. Continue reading

Biodiversity: Will grizzlies return to the North Cascades?

Grizzlies are roaming farther north and encroaching on Polar bear habitat, PHOTO COURTESY U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY.

Will grizzlies once again roam the North Cascades? Photo courtesy U.S. Geological Survey.

National Park Service launches 3-year study on possible restoration

Staff Report

FRISCO — In a big move for grizzlies and wild ecosystems, the National Park Service this week launched a three-year environmental study to evaluate to possibility of restoring the apex predators to the North Cascades.

“This is the first stage of a multi-step process to help inform decisions about grizzly bear restoration in the North Cascades ecosystem,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “The National Park Service and our partners in this effort haven’t made any decisions about the bear’s restoration at this time as federal law requires us to look at a range of options, including not restoring grizzlies to the area.” Continue reading

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