The Home Front: Friendly regulations for oil-and-gas companies in Weld County

“A recent U.S. Bureau of Land Management decision regarding 65 previously issued oil and gas leases on the White River National Forest, including the cancellation of 25 leases in the Thompson Divide area, is almost certain to end up in federal court,” reports The Glenwood Springs Post-Independent. “What form that will take over what claims, and which entities decide to seek legal remedies, is a matter for lawyers working on both sides of the ongoing dispute to determine.”

Meanwhile, The Greeley Tribune is reporting how Weld County officials are adopting new regulations that are friendly to oil and gas companies. “They say the companies will no longer have to go through public hearings on any new projects, even if they’re drilling in residential areas. Companies will not have to get landowners to sign off on their plans; they will just have to prove they tried to. About a dozen industry representatives heralded the changes during the meeting, and despite Weld County residents’ recent activist streak, no oil and gas opponents showed up to protest. Commissioners voted 5-0 in favor, publicly lauding the industry’s importance to the county. The rules go into effect Feb. 1.”

“A leaking Garfield County pipeline owned by a subsidiary of Encana was discovered in June to be contaminating groundwater and surface water with oil, and state regulators are being asked to find the company in violation of oil and gas rules,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “Cleanup work continues in connection with the leak from a 6-inch-diameter steel liquids pipeline operated by Hunter Ridge Energy Services LLC in the North Parachute Mountain area north of Parachute. The company said in a written response to the state about the alleged violations that condensate from the pipeline traveled underground about 4,200 feet before surfacing in a spring and flowing on the surface more than a mile north to a stock pond.”

The Loveland Reporter-Herald reports on the rights of local prairie dogs as officials OK a new building project. “Seven members of a group called the Northern Colorado Prairie Dog Advocates attended the meeting, and four spoke to the commissioners about their concern for the prairie dogs. “I want to make sure that this important project proceeds in a way consistent with our community values,” said Ashley Waddell, a resident of unincorporated Larimer County. “We want to ensure that the prairie dog colony is relocated to county open space, not killed, before construction begins.”

A long-awaited redevelopment of Windsor Mill in the Fort Collins area “got a boost from Windsor’s Town Board on Monday night,” The Fort Collins Coloradoan reports. “In a 6-1 vote, the board approved a $3.7 million incentives package which includes fee waivers, cash investments and shared tax revenue.”

“The convergence of a weekend powder storm and temperatures cold enough for productive snowmaking led Steamboat Ski Area to announce Monday morning it had opened the gondola and the Heavenly Daze trail, affording skiers 2,000 vertical feet of terrain,” according to Steamboat Today.

The Longmont Times-Call reports how Boulder’s LGBT community fears for the future and is preparing for a fight. “One of the things that became clear after Donald Trump claimed victory was our emails started exploding with people wanting to volunteer,” Mardi Moore, executive director of Out Boulder County, told the paper. Moore added that “allies,” straight people who support the LGBT community, have also shown up to voice their support, and donations to the organization have also increased in recent weeks. “People know there is a fight that had to be had to protect our rights and privileges,” Moore said. “People are showing up now ready to be involved and be active.”

Boulder scientists have developed a new atomic clock, reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “National Institute of Standards and Technology physicists have combined two experimental optical atomic clocks based on ytterbium atoms, notching another world record for clock stability. Stability, in this sense, is the precision with which the duration of each clock tick matches every other tick that comes before and after. Its unprecedented stability makes the ytterbium lattice clock a more powerful tool for precision tests, including whether the “fundamental constants” of nature are truly constant, as well as searches for the elusive dark matter which scientists theorize makes up much of the universe.”

The Cañon City Daily Record reports on a new youth center in the area. “Building relationships with the youth of Cañon City and offering them a fun, safe place to gather is what The Bridge is all about. The youth center officially will open its doors at 310 Main St. during an open house from 1 to 7 p.m. Saturday. Middle school and high school students and their parents and guardians are invited to stop in and take a tour, and then a free concert featuring the Colorado-based band Felling Giants will begin at 8 p.m.”

Physicians across Colorado are preparing for how they will handle a new law allowing terminally-ill patients to obtain drugs from doctors so they can end their own lives, The Denver Post reports. “The new law is permissive, not mandatory. Each physician, and hospital system, will decide whether to participate. That was key for the medical society,” the paper reports. “We feel very strongly that any decision that is made is between the physician and the patient and it has to be consistent with the physician’s core values,” Parry, who supports the law, told the paper. “I know people who feel very strongly from a religious standpoint that it puts the soul at risk and I’m not going to argue with that position.”

The Gazette in Colorado Springs reports how new laws to “tightly regulate construction in Colorado Springs’ landslide-risk areas got some final tweaks Monday and are expected to be brought before the Planning Commission and City Council in January. The action was prompted by landslides that started in July 2015 and have severely damaged or destroyed at least 26 homes in and around Lower Skyway and Broadmoor Terrace.”