Posted on October 28, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
A Colorado River headwaters stream just below the Denver Water diversion point.
Letter to Corps of Engineers and EPA calls for careful scrutiny
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Colorado water and environmental advocates say they’re concerned that fast-tracking the federal environmental review for the Moffat Collection System Expansion Project could lead the responsible agencies to leave out important information and not fully address the impacts of new water diversions from the Colorado River.
“We’re worried that that we’re going to hit fast forward and miss some things,” said Becky Long, water caucus coordinator with the Colorado Environmental Coalition, explaining why several groups recently wrote a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the EPA, reiterating their concerns about water temperatures and sediment loading in the Colorado River and its tributaries.
The fast-tracking was requested by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper back in June. In a June 5 letter to President Barack Obama, Hickenlooper touted a far-reaching water agreement as “removing” West Slope opposition to the Moffat project, and urged the Corps to release a final Environmental Impact Statement by the end of 2012, followed by a formal decision in early 2013. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, rivers, water | Tagged: Barack Obama, Clean Water Act, Colorado, Colorado River, Environment, EPA, John Hickenlooper, Moffat Collection System Expansion Project, National Environmental Policy Act, US Army Corps of Engineers | Leave a Comment »
Posted on October 6, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Two meetings next week to focus on forest and wildfire issues
Summit County residents are invited to a forest health powwow with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. Photo by Bob Berwyn.
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Grappling with the aftermath of Colorado’s most destructive wildfire season on record, state, federal and local officials will meet Oct. 12 for a half-day forest health summit at the Colorado History Center in Denver.
And in what could be a condensed preview of the Denver powwow, Gov. Hickenlooper will visit Summit County Oct. 10 to participate in a one-hour forest health and wildfire forum at the Summit County Community and Senior Center (10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.).
“Obviously Gov. Hickenlooper is the headliner … it’s an opportunity for Summit County to share with the Governor concerns, successes and opportunities on forest health,” said county commissioner Dan Gibbs, explaining that the session is partly aimed at sharing information about potential options to protect Colorado communities from a repeat of this past summer’s fires. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Environment, forest fires, Forest health, forests, global warming, pine beetles and wildfires, Summit County Colorado, Summit County news, wildfires | Tagged: Colorado, Dan Gibbs, forest fires, Forest health, John Hickenlooper, Mark Udall, Wildfires | Leave a Comment »
Posted on September 28, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Response to local elected officials emphasizes cooperative approach
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Gov. John Hickenlooper this week responded to concerns expressed by local government officials around the state about a state lawsuit challenging duly adopted local oil and gas drilling regulations.
A long list of elected lawmakers from around Colorado all signed on to a letter asking Hickenlooper to withdraw the suit and work cooperatively with local communitites.
In his response, Hickenlooper said the state’s lawsuit against Longmont was a “last resort,” after attempts to resolve concerns about locally adopted oil and gas drilling regulations failed. Read Gov. Hickenlooper’s letter here. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, energy, Environment, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: Colorado, John Hickenlooper, Longmont Colorado, oil and gas drilling | Leave a Comment »
Posted on September 19, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
State power play angers town and county lawmakers
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Local government officials from around the state — including Pitkin, Summit and Eagle counties, as well as towns like Basalt, Aspen and the entire Boulder City Council — voiced their opposition to a state lawsuit against the City of Longmont over locally enacted oil and gas drilling regulations.
In their letter, the diverse coalition of county commissioners, mayors, and city council members urged the Governor to rethink his approach and instead work with local governments to protect communities from the adverse impacts of growing oil and gas development. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, economy, energy, Environment, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: Colorado, energy, Environment, fracking, John Hickenlooper, Longmont Colorado, oil and gas drilling | 2 Comments »
Posted on August 30, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Greater sage-grouse. Photo courtesy USFWS.
States, BLM trying to stave off an endangered species listing
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — A new draft report from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service may help provide a road map for greater sage-grouse conservation by identifying high-risk populations of the birds, outlining specific measures needed to avoid or mitigate impacts and setting population conservation goals.
The draft report is part of a multi-state planning aimed at protecting sage grouse and enabling economic growth, including oil and gas development, across the interior West.
The USFWS is working toward a court-ordered deadline for making a decision whether list greater sage-grouse as threatened or endangered. As part of that process, the Bureau of Land Management is updating land management plans across huge swaths of the West. At the same time, western states are also involved in trying to develop sage grouse conservation plans, hoping to forestall an endangered species listing. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, BLM, endangered species, energy, Environment, gas drilling, oil drilling, public lands | Tagged: biodiversity, endangered species, energy, gas drilling, Greater sage-grouse, John Hickenlooper, Matt Mead, oil drilling, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, West | Leave a Comment »
Posted on July 2, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
With extreme drought spreading across Colorado, Gov. John Hickenlooper is seeking to get ahead of the curve for federal disaster relief.
Gov. Hickenlooper seeks federal drought aid
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Several Colorado counties already meet federal criteria for drought relief, and more could be eligible soon, as farmers start to harvest wheat weeks ahead of schedule and some ranchers consider selling their cattle in the face of continued dry conditions.
In some parts of the state, ranchers won’t be able to grow enough hay to feed their cattle through the winter. Other areas were hit by an April frost after record warm temps in March spurred fruit trees to bloom.
As a result, Gov. John Hickenlooper last week requested drought assistance from Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Drought, seasons, Snow and weather | Tagged: agriculture, Colorado, drought, federal disaster aid Colorado, John Hickenlooper, Tom Vilsack, United States Department of Agriculture | Leave a Comment »
Posted on June 16, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack lauds cooperation, pledges post-fire assistance and continued focus on forest restoration
High Park Fire map updated June 16 by Larimer County. Click on the image to download the large pdf version.
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Along with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, top federal officials toured the High Park Fire zone Saturday, then emphasized the high level of cooperation between local volunteer fire departments, the Colorado Forest Service and the U.S. Forest Service in working to contain the 55,000-acre wildfire, now one of the largest on record in Colorado.
Though more than 100 homes have been reported destroyed, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said at an afternoon press conference that cooperation helped save thousands of other structures that were potentially in harm’s way.
Hickenlooper displayed photo of a tree he said was the source of the High Park Fire, struck by lightning a few days before the blaze grew out of control. He emphasized that the High Park Fire only burned across about 0.2 percent of public lands in the state, seeking to reassure visitors that the state’s forests are still open for recreation. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Drought, forest fires | Tagged: Colorado wildfires, High Park Fire, High Park fire map, High Park fire map june 16, John Hickenlooper, Tom Vilsack, United States Forest Service | 1 Comment »
Posted on June 12, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
The High Park Fire burn area as of Tuesday morning. MAP COURTESY MARK NEWBY/BLACK ICE GEOSPATIAL.
Declaration helps state tap into federal emergency funds
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper Tuesday declared the High Park Fire a state disaster in a move that allocates $20 million to the state’s Disaster Emergency Fund to pay for firefighting efforts. Click here to read the declaration.
Fire incident commander Bill Hahnenberg Tuesday morning estimated the total cost of the fire so far at about $1.6 million, mounting at the rate of as much as $400,000 per day.
Hickenlooper gave verbal approval hours after the fire started on Saturday for the disaster declaration and authorized the use of Colorado National Guard resources to help fight the fire. Tuesday’s declaration formalizes both actions and authorizes state emergency managers to apply for federal disaster funds. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, forest fires | Tagged: Colorado, disaster declaration, Fort Collins Colorado, High Park Fire, John Hickenlooper, Larimer County Colorado | Leave a Comment »
Posted on May 28, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Dry conditions are widespread across the interior West.
Gov. Hickenlooper expands drought response activities
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — After a couple of months with temperatures running 5 to 10 degrees above average and the snowpack at only 2 percent average for this time of year, parts of northwestern Colorado have been designated as being in extreme drought conditions.
The drought is widespread throughout the interior West, according to the weekly report from the National Integrated Drought Information System.
In response to conditions, Gov, John Hickenlooper has ordered expanded activation of the statewide drought mitigation and response plan. Counties in the Yampa, White, Colorado and Gunnison basins could see severe drought-related economic impacts, and other sectors of the state’s economy may also be affected if current weather trends continue, Hickenlooper wrote in a May 21 memo the heads all state government agencies. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Drought, seasons, Snow and weather | Tagged: Colorado, drought, extreme drought northwest Colorado, John Hickenlooper | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 14, 2012 by Bob Berwyn