Hearing starts Oct. 15 for what would be the country’s first new uranium mill in 30 years
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — After a start-stop permitting procedure for a proposed uranium mill in southwestern Colorado was marred by inadequate public hearings, state officials will once again take input in formal proceedings starting Oct. 15.
This time, a judge has given three conservation groups formal standing for the hearings, which means that environmental advocates will be able to introduce evidence, testify and cross-examine witnesses.
Headlines and links from Telluride, Aspen and Jackson Hole
Aspen: Mixed results on Pro Challenge bike race
The USA Pro Challenge has been touted as a big economic boost for Colorado, with communities vying to host stages for the perceived benefits. In Aspen, it looks like retail sales may have taken a little hit during the day of the race, while restaurants reported booming business, according to the Aspen Daily News.
Some service-oriented businesses were affected by a lack of access, while hotels reported 90 percent occupance and restaurants saw an early rush, with some establishments reported lines on the sidewalk. Read the full story in the Aspen Daily News.
Paper-bag fee challenged in court
A $0.20 fee charged for paper grocery bags in Aspen stores has raised almost $4,000 during its first two months, as the town tries to encourage shoppers to bring reusable bags for their shopping needs — but the bag fee is facing a court challenge, according to the Aspen Daily News.
The plastic bag ban took effect May 1. Under the law, the grocery stores can keep 25 percent of the collected fees (up to $1,000 per month) during the first year to help with the transition, with the town using the rest for education and awareness efforts.
Communities, conservation groups prevail in lawsuit against Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Communities and conservation groups in southwestern Colorado won a huge court victory this week, as a Denver District Court judge invalidated a state license for the proposed Piñon Ridge uranium mill.
Judge John N. McMullen ruled June 13 that the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment erred by issuing the license to Energy Fuels without public hearings required under the regulatory process.
SUMMIT COUNTY — A short initial story about a rare local murder was the most-viewed story of the past week, followed by reports on regional wildfire and stories about last week’s solar eclipse. Google searches and Google News referrals were the big traffic drivers, along with a decent number of referrals from Facebook and Twitter.
A proposed uranium processing mill in southwest Colorado has triggered a showdown between state and federal regulators
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — State health officials and federal nuclear regulators will powwow this week over the stalled application for a permit for a planned uranium mill in southwest Colorado, but the public apparently will be shut out of the process — despite a formal request for access by local government officials from Telluride and San Miguel County.
“The state has completely failed to conduct its review of the proposed Piñon Ridge Uranium Mill in a fair, open and transparent process,” said Hilary White, executive director of the Sheep Mountain Alliance, a Telluride-based conservation group that has challenged the Piñon Ridge license in a lawsuit.
Pioneers in viticulture, déjà vu all over again in Aspen, a chicken coop raid in Steamboat, riding high in Silverton, and a PhD … in snowboarding?
By Summit Voice
Sustainability and the grape
In the wine world, being organic is more than just a marketing campaign. “I think, for the most part… wineries that are organic are doing it because they know you have to treat your crop right and, in turn, it will treat you right,” said David Courtney, a sommelier at Beaver Liquors in Avon. “On my many visits to Europe when talking with the winemakers, they all know that if you keep using harsh chemicals you will eventually change your terroir, which is what Euro wines are all about,” Courtney said. “Most don’t even have a word for organic farming because that is just how it’s done.”
Mickey Werner, manager of Alpine Wine & Sprits, said there is some evidence that wine produced from organic grapes has a different taste profile from that made with conventionally farmed grapes. In a recent article about an Oregon winery, he said “they farmed both sides of a shallow valley, half biodynamic, half conventional — same clones, root stock — the majority of the tasters said there was a taste-profile difference in every flight that went through. Better is subjective, but there is a more profound taste profile difference between the two.”
Local, state and national groups rally members to preserve backcountry access
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — A battle over the backcountry in Telluride is heating up, as state and national conservation and advocacy groups are urging their members to write letters to elected officials and Forest Service rangers to ensure access from the Telluride ski area to the popular Bear Creek drainage.
The Forest Service suddenly closed the backcountry access points on Gold Hill after private property owners in the area complained about the potential liability associated with what they claim is trespass. The Telluride Mountain Club, a local backcountry advocacy group, took up the fight, claiming that the Forest Service may have violated its own procedures by closing the route without any public involvement — especially since opening the access points involved a full scale environmental analysis. Continue reading “Telluride: Battle over Bear Creek access heating up”→