Afternoon News Nuggets: 13 July 2009

Dug up fresh, daily.

THIN AIR, BIG THOUGHTS: At last week’s Aspen Ideas Fest, Google’s Eric Schmidt on economic evolution and the hurdle created from the cozy relationship between incumbent businesses and regulators: “High-tech works three times faster than traditional business, and government moves three times slower.

ANYTHING LIKE CLOSE IS TOO CLOSE: Battlement Mesa residents want gas wells set back at least 1,000 feet from their homes if and when Denver-based Antero Resources gets the go-ahead from state and Garfield County officials to drill up to 200 wells in the former Exxon oil-shale boom town. State officials say setbacks of 150 feet (far enough away in case a drilling rig topples over) work well in other parts of the state. The topic was just one of many hotly debated last week at a Colorado Oil and Gas and Conservation Commission meeting in Battlement Mesa.

WHERE PUBLIC PANIC FAILS, CALL IN THE FEDS: In early 2008 toxic water built up in a collapsed mine tunnel above Leadville, moving Lake County commissioners to join with state Sen. Tom Wiens, a Castle Rock Republican, to declare a disaster emergency. Then in July of last year, a Bureau of Reclamation study determined there was no immediate danger, at least, of billions of gallons of toxic water and sludge sweeping away picturesque trailer parks. Finally, last week, U.S. Sen. Mark Udall and U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn introduced legislation to clear legal blockages as stubborn as the one in the mine tunnel and find a long-term solution for dealing with the problem.

BAD INFORMATION DEPT: Always ready to provide data and talking-points to GOP lawmakers, the Heritage Foundation came out strong against the climate bill last week. Its message: The U.S. alone can’t fix the problem — so why do anything?!

LEADERSHIP! Which member of our state delegation is throwing around the Heritage numbers to argue the do-nothing position on climate change? U.S. Rep. Doug “Screw the U.N.” Lamborn of Colorado Springs. That’s who.

PIT LINERS: JUST AS BAD AS THEY SOUND: Garfield County officials last week said they will no longer accept the bulky, chemical-covered giant tarps used by oil and gas companies to line pits of the “produced water” used in hydraulic fracturing and other gas-drilling processes. Citing new state regulations for handling such waste, Garfield County commissioners agreed they needed to just say to no to pit liners because of the potential for massive cleanup costs down the road and because they would likely fill the landfill, located in Rifle, way too fast.

PILE ON: There’s nothing here to read about Sarah Palin — not about the new real reason for her leaving office and not about the now tragi-comic advice she offered Hillary Clinton in 2008, when like a point-guard callin’ audibles, she told Clinton to just stop all that complaining about bad press because it just don’t move the ball to the hole, or something like that.

Written and compiled by David O. Williams and John Tomasic.

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