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Colorado: Sen. Udall floats Browns Canyon National Monument bill

Existing uses would continue in popular boating and fishing area

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By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — After a year-long grassroots process, Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) says the proposed 22,000-acre Browns Canyon National Monument is ready for prime time.

Udall, who chairs the U.S. Senate National Parks Subcommittee, this week introduced a draft bill that would also create 10,500 acres of wilderness within the monument and protect the most-used rafting destination in the country.

“I am proposing a new national monument for Browns Canyon so that future generations of Coloradans can enjoy the unique mix of exciting whitewater and wilderness so close to Colorado’s Front Range,” Udall said in a statement. Continue reading

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GOP blocks funds for Colorado wildfire recovery

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Steep, burned hillsides in the Waldo Canyon burn area need more treatment, but Congress this week cut critical funding for watershed protection and restoration. Photo courtesy PSICC.

Partisan budget bickering continues

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Some of Colorado’s elected officials in Washington, D.C. are fuming over the latest partisan budget maneuvering, which included a move by the House GOP to cut funding that would have helped fire-scarred areas in the state protect their watersheds.

“It was wrong for the House to remove Colorado fire recovery funding from the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act,” Democratic Congressman Jared Polis. “Colorado experienced the worst wildfire season on record last year and our communities deserve a helping hand. If the House had passed the Senate disaster relief funding measure  this money would already be on its way to Colorado.”

Monday night, Polis offered a motion that would have allowed consideration of the amendment on the floor of the House during a session of the Rules Committee, but it was defeated on a party line vote of 9-4. The emergency funding measure passed the House Tuesday by a vote of 241-180. Continue reading

Opinion: Fossil fuel dinosaurs try to block new EPA rules

CO2: Up, up and away ...

Grassroots activists help convince Senate to drop anti-environmental bills

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — An attempt by old-school politicians to block EPA greenhouse gas regulations failed in the U.S. Senate last week  in part after a flood of e-mail from voters and constituents responding to an online appeal from the Environmental Defense Fund.

In a Dec. 17 press release, the group said at least 10,000 people contacted their elected representatives to demand that the Senate drop a bill that would have undercut the EPA. authority to control carbon dioxide, methane and other heat-trapping gases. The agency ruled last year that greenhouse gases pose a threat to the welfare of Americans, and began developing regulations based on that endangerment finding. As soon as next month, power plants and other big polluters will have to get permits for emitting greenhouse gases.

While Congress can’t find the political will to act on global warming in a meaningful way, at least some federal lawmakers are unwilling to let the EPA do the job — and guess who is leading the charge? It’s not that hard — just follow the trail of oil  and coal, and the money associated with those industries. Continue reading

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