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Udall plans to quiz CIA nominee on ‘torture report’

Sen. Mark Udall.

Sen. Mark Udall.

Senators want John Brennan to reform CIA interrogation practices

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — It may be business as usual for incoming CIA chief John Brennan, who was was unprepared this week to discuss a recent classified U.S. Senate report on the agency’s detention and interrogation program, but that stance doesn’t sit well with at least a handful of senators, who plan to grill Brennan about the report at his confirmation hearing next week.

Among them is Mark Udall, Colorado’s senior Democratic senator, who has often expressed concerns and questions over whether U.S. Intelligence agencies are violating civil rights and U.S. laws in some of their programs.

“I was deeply disappointed today during my meeting with John Brennan. A few weeks ago, I had asked that he be prepared to discuss at today’s meeting the findings of the Senate Intelligence Committee‘s comprehensive study on the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation program,” Udall said in a statement. “Not only was he not prepared to discuss the important findings, but he hadn’t reviewed the report at all,” Udall said. Continue reading

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Udall says Patriot Act provisions threaten civil liberties

Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.)

Colorado senator says Americans would be alarmed if they knew how the law is being used, votes against re-authorization

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Saying that the three most controversial provisions of the PATRIOT Act  threaten Americans’ constitutional freedoms, Colorado Sen. Mark Udall this week voted against reauthorization of the counter-terrorism measure.

Udall, a member of the Intelligence and Armed Services committees, says he supports the intent of the PATRIOT Act and believes the government should have the power to conduct surveillance and keep Americans safe. But three key sections of the law need to be amended to guard against government abuse, he said.

“I cannot support the extension of the provisions we are considering today without amendments to ensure there is a check on executive branch authority,” Udall said in a speech on the Senate floor. “And I don’t believe that the Coloradans who elected me to represent them would accept it either.” Continue reading

Forest bill could boost biofuel efforts in Colorado

A forest insect emergency bill pending in the U.S. Senate could give companies more incentives to turn dead trees into biofuel.

State Sen. Dan Gibbs is in Washington, D.C. this week to testify in support of a measure that could speed up the pipeline for some local forest projects

By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — State Sen. Dan Gibbs is in Washington, D.C. this week to testify in support of a forest health bill that could speed Forest Service efforts to clear beetle-killed trees on national forest lands around Frisco, Breckenridge and Silverthorne.

The hearing is set for Tuesday afternoon before a U.S. Senate Public Lands and Forests Subcommittee.

The National Forest Insect and Emergency Disease Act is co-sponsored by Democratic Sen. Mark Udall and Republican Sen. James Risch of Idaho. It would enable the Forest Service to designate critical areas to clarify where the agency can streamline approvals for logging projects.

The measure could also help the Forest Service use provisions of the federal farm bill to offer incentives to companies seeking to convert dead trees into biofuel.

One of the most important provisions of the proposed law would help the Forest Service establish long-term stewardship contracts with logging companies to ensure a steady supply of wood in trade for the work they’re doing, a critical part of enticing loggers to tackle low-value beetle-killed lodgepole forests. Continue reading

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