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GOP renews attack on Endangered Species Act

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Why are so many Republicans opposed to efforts to protect and restore endangered and threatened species?

Not much substance, a lot of political smoke …

Staff Report

FRISCO — The Republican anti-environment cadre in the House is once again taking aim at the Endangered Species Act by introducing legislation that would make it even harder for federal agencies to protect animals and plants that are at risk of going extinct.

Two of the bills, H.R. 4316 and H.R. 4318, would limit the ability of citizens to challenge government decisions in court. The Republican measures are also ostensibly aimed at reducing the government’s legal costs associated with responding to endangered species lawsuits, but conservation advocates said that is an ideological red herring. Government data shows that the Department of Interior has spent far more money responding to frivolous demands for documents than on settling lawsuits.

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Colorado: Judge rejects fossil fuel industry challenge to voter-approved 5-year fracking moratorium in Broomfield

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A Colorado judge this week upheld the will of voters in Broomfield, Colorado, affirming the vote on a ballot measure that enacts a 5-year ban on fracking.

Election results stand, pending a potential appeal

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — A bid by the fossil fuel industry to thwart the will of voters in Broomfield, Colorado failed in court this week, as 17th Judicial District Court Judge Chris Melonakis upheld the five-year fracking ban approved by voters last November.

Question 300 passed by 17 votes, triggering a recount that brought nearly the same result. The challenge by the fossil fuel industry focused on election procedures and not on the substantive issue at hand — whether Colorado residents have the right to protect themselves and their communities from potentially harmful activities. Continue reading

GOP attack on endangered species fueled by “Tea Party fantasies’

House report fails to cite any peer-reviewed science

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A lynx kitten in Colorado. Photo courtesy CPW.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Anti-environmental Republicans in the House are once again twisting the facts and distorting science in their efforts to dismantle the Endangered Species Act on behalf of various extractive and environmentally harmful industries.

An analysis released last week by the Center for Biological Diversity found a series of significant factual errors in a report that formed the basis of a recent proposal by 13 House Republicans to weaken a bedrock environmental law that has prevented the extinction of scores of plants and animals across the country.

The analysis, which highlights 12 key errors in the GOP report, was sent in a letter to Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), chair of a key House resources committee. According to wildlife conservation advocates, the proposal would cripple key parts of the Act by limiting the ability of citizens to hold government accountable by challenging endangered species decisions and policies. Continue reading

Climate change denialism: Follow the money?

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Fossil fuel companies and conservative foundations continue to pour millions of dollars into politically and economically motivated efforts to deny climate science.

Study finds that most funding for anti-science groups can’t be traced to specific donors

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Even though climate scientists are in near total agreement about how and why Earth is steadily heating up, the political arguments over global warming continue — in large part because a well-funded disinformation network is deliberately peddling half-truths, twisted facts and even outright lies.

Since a lot of the money flows through back channels and cover organizations, it’s not always easy to tell exactly who is paying for what. But that all just got a bit easier after some detailed analysis by Drexel University environmental sociologist Dr. Robert J. Brulle. In a peer-reviewed study, Brulle looked the sources of funding that maintain the effort to deny climate science. Continue reading

Opinion: GOP launches attack on EPA leaders

EPA administrator Lisa Jackson.

House science committee claims top officials are circumventing federal record-keeping regulations

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Instead of spending its time doing something productive about global warming or ocean acidification, the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee is of on yet another witch hunt, this time claiming that EPA officials have been conducting official business through secretive means such as aliases and private email accounts.

Remember, this is the same science committee that includes members who deny evolution and buy into the myth of creationism. The committee’s normal business is to oversee federal science activities, but under the leadership of reactionary conservative Republicans, this committee, like many others, has lost its way — No wonder Congress hasn’t been able to make any progress on issues that really matter to the American people. Continue reading

Colorado: Local officials eye new marijuana reality

Amendment 64 raising a lot of questions for local governments

Will Summit County get legal pot shops?

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Federal reaction to the legalization of marijuana for personal use may be driven as much by political considerations as by legal factors, said attorney Sean McAllister, a long-time advocate on the cannabis front.

Colorado voters approved Amendment 64 by a large marging. The measure legalizes adult possession and cultivation of marijuana and directs the state to establish a system to regulate the commercial sale of marijuana for personal use. The ballot measure got 50,000 more votes than President Barack Obama in his reelection bid, and McAllister reckons that the adminstration may not be keen on alienating progressive voters by cracking down on the state. Continue reading

Election 2012: Obama wins

President Barack Obama.

Colorado stays blue; votes to approve marijuana

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — In a race that wasn’t nearly as close as Republican pundits wanted it to be, Barack Obama won a second term to the White House by hanging on to Ohio, a white, working-class state that was crucial to Mitt Romney’s hopes for pulling off a GOP upset.

Obama was also leading by a razor-thin margin in Florida when major networks called the presidential election for the Democrat from Illinois.

The Democrats won by maintaining their margin of victory in traditional strongholds in the Northeast, the Midwest and along the West Coast, with a wide swath in the middle of the country remaining red, showing the deep ideological gulf between coastal urban areas and the country’s heartland.

In Colorado, voters approved Amendment 64, which legalizes possession and use of marijuana. Gov. Hickenlooper said the state will respect the will of the voters.

“The voters have spoken and we have to respect their will. This will be a complicated process, but we intend to follow through. That said, federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug so don’t break out the Cheetos or gold fish too quickly,” he said in a press release.

Mitt Romney conceded the election at about 11 p.m.

“This is a time of great challenges for America, I hope the president will be successful in leading our nation,” Romney said, thanking his family and his running mate, Paul Ryan.

“At a time like this we can’t risk bickering and political posturing,” he continued, calling on both parties to work together to tackle critical issues.

 

Opinion: Global warming comes out of the closet

The remnants of Sandy swirl over the Northeast in the NASA satellite image.

Hurricane Sandy spurs awareness of  links between climate change and extreme weather

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Along with devastating New Jersey’s shoreline and flooding big chunks of New York City, Hurricane Sandy also pushed the public dialogue about climate change out of the musty closet and right smack into the middle of polite dinner table conversation and, even more importantly, into the political arena, just days before the presidential election.

After a couple of days surveying the damage, both the mayor of New York City and the governor of New York directly addressed the issue in a social and political context. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an independent, factored climate change into a political endorsement of Barack Obama as the candidate better equipped to tackle the issue.

“In In just 14 months, two hurricanes have forced us to evacuate neighborhoods — something our city government had never done before. If this is a trend, it is simply not sustainable,” Bloomberg wrote in an editorial for the Bloomberg View. Continue reading

Summit County Dems rally to mark start of early voting

Summit County Democrats look to boost turnout, early voting.

Big Summit turnout needed to win state races

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — With absentee ballots going out Monday, Summit County Democrats are starting their final run-up to the election Sunday afternoon rally at party headquarters in Silverthorne (Summit Place shopping center, next to the Smiling Moose Deli).

State Rep. Millie Hamner and Colorado Democratic Party Chairman Rick Palacio are both confirmed for the event, and several other local candidates may also speak at the rally.

“We’re hoping to use this as a kick-off for our get out the vote efforts,” said Matt Inzeo, communications director for the Colorado Democratic Party.

Summit County has long been a left-leaning stronghold, but state redistricting has made the county more important for candidates like Emily Tracy, facing conservative Republican Randy Baumgardner in a district that includes rural ranching communities.

In 2008, Obama won 67 percent of the vote in Summit County, even though more than a third of registered voters identify themselves as Independents. A big turnout could help those Democratic candidates farther down the ticket, said local activist Sandy Briggs.

“There’s no question Summit will go for Obama. It’s just a question if he can match that 67 percent he got last time,” Briggs said, adding that there’s a lot at stake for Summit County residents.

A Romney administration would favor more commercial development on the county’s cherished public lands, and could reverse the progress made on increasing production of renewable energy — another issue that’s important to high country residents.

Politics trumps rush hour: I-25 in Denver to be closed for about 5 hours because of Obama-Romney debate

I-25 will be closed for about five hours during the Oct. 3 presidential debate at the University of Denver.

CDOT maps alternate routes for north-south traffic

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Interstate 25, the main north-south highway through Denver, will be closed for about five hours next Wednesday (Oct. 3) because of the presidential debate between Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama at the University of Denver.

Federal authorities requested the closure for security reasons, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation. The highway will be closed in both directions between Santa Fe Drive (US 85) interchange to the Hampden Avenue (US 285.

Although all closures, dates and times are subject to change, it is anticipated that the six-mile portion of I-25 will be closed from approximately 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Continue reading

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