Posted on November 20, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Roadless rule exemption at issue in federal permitting process
A U.S. Forest Service proposal to permit more coal mining in Colorado would unleash huge amounts of heat-trapping greenhouse gas pollution.
The U.S. Forest Service wants to update a public lands rule that would re-open the door for new coal mining on about 20,000 acres in south-central Colorado’s North Fork Valley, near Paonia. The agency this week posted a federal register notice seeking comment on a proposal to reinstate the North Fork Coal Mining Area exception to the Colorado Roadless Rule.
The proposal comes about a year after a federal court set aside the exemption after finding that the Forest Service failed to disclose greenhouse gas emissions associated with potential mine operations and the combustion of coal from the area. Find the federal register notice and information on commenting here. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, global warming | Tagged: coal mining, Colorado, Colorado roadless rule, global waming, greenhouse gases, North Fork Valley, public lands | 1 Comment »
Posted on November 16, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Summer is about to get busier on the slopes of the Tenmile Range.
Summer attractions expected to draw 150,000 new tourists
The U.S. Forest Service is giving Vail Resorts a green light for more development on the slopes of the Tenmile Range, at Breckenridge Ski Area.
In a final decision released this week, White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams approved a significant expansion of recreation infrastructure, including zip lines and canopy tours, as well as more off-highway vehicle tours and an expansion of the Peak 7 hut. Continue reading
Filed under: Breckenridge, public lands, Summit County Colorado | Tagged: Breckenridge, Breckenridge Ski Area, Breckenridge summer expansion, public lands, U.S. Forest Service | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 7, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A federal court has ordered the U.S. Forest Service to release more documents related to a controversial land trade and development proposal at Wolf Creek Pass in Colorado.
Controversial swap would enable massive development project at Wolf Creek Pass
The U.S. Forest Service continues to delay the release of records related to a controversial land trade in southwestern Colorado.
Last week, a federal court granted the agency’s request for a 30-day extension to turn over letters, memos and other documents from a long-running review of the Wolf Creek land trade — a swap that would enable a massive resort development in the middle of an important wildlife area.
In September, U.S. District Court Judge Wiley Daniel ruled that the Forest Service violated the Freedom of Information Act and ordered the agency to release the documents on the controversial land trade by Oct. 30. Conservation groups critical of the trade say the paper trail may show that the decision-making process was tainted by political influence. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, US Forest Service | Tagged: Colorado, FOIA, public lands, U.S. Forest Service, Wolf Creek land trade, Wolf Creek Pass | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 4, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Grand Canyon view from the Saddle Mountain Wilderness. Summit Voice file photo.
Monument designation sought to prevent mining, preserve Native American heritage
Native Americans in northern Arizona are supporting far-reaching protection for culturally and environmentally important lands around the Grand Canyon.
The Navajo Nation and the Hopi, Havasupai, and Hualapai tribes have joined forces to back a bill by Congressman Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) that would protect more than a million acres near the canyon. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, public lands | Tagged: Arizona, Grand Canyon, national monuments, Native Americans, public lands, Raúl Grijalva | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 25, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Flash floods in October scoured roads and bridges from the landscape in Death Valley National Park. Photo courtesy National Park Service.
Autumn tourism affected by road damage, but many attractions still open
A series of El Niño-fueled storms in October ravaged parts of Death Valley with floods and mudslides, leading to serious road damage and impacting other park resources, including Devils Hole, a spring that’s home to endangered fish.
According to the National Park Service, flash floods heavily damaged historic structures at Scottys Castle. In a press release, the park service floods pushed over a wall and buried some buildings with about five feet of mud.
The park often sees weather extremes, including flash flooding, but geologists said October’s events were near the edge of the historic envelope. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, El Niño, extreme weather, global warming, national parks, public lands | Tagged: Death Valley, El Nino, extreme weather, flash floods, public lands | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 17, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A fracking boom near national parks has already degraded air quality and fragmented wildlife habitat around some of the country’s most cherished public lands. @bberwyn photo.
Agency acknowledges potential for adverse impacts to park values
The recent surge in fossil fuel exploitation on public lands near national parks has raised serious concerns about air quality, wildlife and scenic values — to the point that the National Parks Conservation Association outlined threats in a report a few years ago.
Now, the National Park Service wants to tackle some of the concerns by updating drilling regulations. The proposal would revise current rules that are 36 years old, predating the modern fracking area. The agency hopes the update will give the fossil fuel industry more certainty, improve the agency’s ability to protect park resources and the values for which the parks were set aside, and protect visitors from potentially adverse impacts associated with fossil fuel development. Continue reading
Filed under: energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, national parks, oil drilling, public lands, Uncategorized | Tagged: fracking, National park fracking rules, national parks, oil and gas drilling, public lands | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 5, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Shipwreck areas in Wisconsin and Maryland eyed for protection
NOAA is seeking comments on its proposal to designate two areas in Wisconsin (left) and Maryland (right) as national marine sanctuaries. (Credit: NOAA).
Two historic shipwreck sites could be designated as National Marine Sanctuaries under a proposal outlined by President Barack Obama at an international ocean conference today.
In a press release, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said it’s the first time since 2000 that the agency has identified new sites for that designation. NOAA is taking public comment on the proposal. Continue reading
Filed under: Archaeology, federal government, ocean conservation | Tagged: Lake Michigan, Mallows Bay-Potomac River, national marine sanctuaries, public lands, shipwrecks, Wisconsin | Leave a comment »