The Home Front: In Colorado, ‘fed up’ towns take on the oil-and-gas industry

“Colorado residents fed up with what they see as the state’s failure to protect people and the environment are fighting fossil-fuel development inside their towns by making new rules requiring odor control, bigger setbacks and company disclosure of underground oil and gas flowlines,” reports The Denver Post. “But the industry and state government are ready to fight back. An odor-control measure in Erie, letting police hit companies with tickets for foul fumes, takes effect next week. Erie, Broomfield, Thornton and Lafayette are each developing map submission rules, with leaders saying the fatal April 17 house explosion in Firestone makes this a no-brainer. Broomfield residents also will vote on whether to change their charter to require protection of health, safety and the environment as preconditions before drilling inside city limits can be done.”

“At the urging of Councilwoman Polly Christensen, Longmont has posted a link on its city government home page to the City Council’s Dec. 13 resolution reaffirming ‘constitutional rights and community values,'” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “Christensen on Tuesday night called for a more prominent display of Longmont’s eight-month-old resolution in light of the Aug. 12 violence during a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., where a driver plowed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing a woman and injuring more than 19 other people. There’s also been an increase in hate crimes nationally, she said.”

“A California brother and sister were arrested along with their 13-year-old cousin Tuesday morning after members of the Western Colorado Drug Task Force who stopped their car on Interstate 70 allegedly found 25 pounds of suspected methamphetamine hidden throughout the vehicle,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.

“When Boulder officials discovered the emerald ash borer in the city in 2013, they’d been preparing for its arrival for almost 15 years,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “It was inevitable that the invasive tree-killing bug would spread there, given its rapid proliferation across the United States since it first appeared in the Midwest in the early 2000s and Boulder’s sizable population of the ash trees the bug kills. But they were surprised at the fight that faced them. “It was already everywhere; we just hadn’t found it,” said Laura Pottorf, who manages quarantine programs for the Colorado Department of Agriculture. The emerald ash borer is coming to Greeley, too. It’s a question of when, not if, and as Boulder shows, it may be here now.”

“There’s a sign in front of ‘Brewery Hill’ near the corner of Portland and Norwood avenues that warns people of $1,000 fines for illegal dumping,” reports The Pubelo Chieftain. “The streets are barricaded behind an entrance sign to the empty Legends at River’s Run development project. Most streets leading to it also are blocked off. ‘None of it stops people from dumping their trash and junk out there,’ said Kathleen Rutten, who lives with Dale Hammond on the 1200 block of South La Crosse Avenue, less than a mile from the dump site on Pueblo’s Lower East Side.”

“There’s something wrong with our politics. That was the frank assessment of Democratic U.S. Senator Michael Bennet on Wednesday as he took a tour of the Eisenhower Tunnel on Interstate 70, perhaps the most important link in Colorado’s underfunded and overburdened transportation infrastructure,” reports The Summit Daily News. “We don’t even have the decency to maintain the roads and bridges, the assets and infrastructure that our parents and grandparents had the decency to build for us — much less build the infrastructure our kids are going to need in the 21st century,” he said as cars and trucks whizzed by.”

“At a lively town hall in Steamboat Springs on Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet found a friendly audience to talk policy with and even shook hands and agreed with one of the area’s most vocal Republicans on a topic of national interest,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “The Colorado Democrat and Republican Chuck McConnell were shaking hands at Bud Werner Memorial Library after the Senator said President Donald Trump should stop watching cable, put his phone down and stop tweeting about foreign affairs.”

“Richard Rule treated the Rev. Carl Sutter so well that Sutter thought he was one of Rule’s few special friends,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “On Wednesday, Sutter spoke about that mistake in front of hundreds of other of Rule’s special friends, many of whom also had stories to tell about the generosity shown by the Loveland man over his life and work in Northern Colorado. Rule died Aug. 16 after a 10-month battle with esophageal cancer. He was 56.”

“One of Boulder’s most significant redevelopment projects is beginning the slow morph from a rough vision to a concrete plan,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “Following the City Council’s approval of a series of guiding principles for the 8.8-acre site along Broadway at Alpine and Balsam avenues, the former longtime home of Boulder Community Health, city planning staff say they now intend to head to constituents for advice on how the property should be revamped. The city’s stated goal, at the point, is for the physical redevelopment to get underway in 2019.”

“Eagle’s sales tax revenues for the first half of 2017 are up — that’s the good news. But those revenues have not increased as much as the town budgeted, which could necessitate year-end budget cuts,” reports Vail Daily. “In formulating Eagle’s 2017 budget, former town manager John Schneiger and town finance director Jill Ewing anticipated an 8 percent increase in sales tax revenues during 2017. They based that figure on recent history — sales tax collections grew 11.5 percent in 2016 and 11.2 percent in 2015. Additionally, state forecasts called for a 5 percent sales tax growth. Ewing noted this week that she initially proposed a 5 percent increase for the 2017 budget but Schneiger supported the 8 percent figure, and that was reflected in the budget approved by the Eagle Town Board.”

“Legal outdoors smoking might return to downtown Fort Collins. City officials are considering changes to rules governing the Downtown Smoke-Free Zone, including designated smoking areas and dropping the area’s smoking ban between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “The potential changes are in response to complaints from Old Town businesses about the impacts of the smoke-free zone, Delynn Coldiron, interim city clerk, told City Council members Tuesday.”

“Thanks to a recently awarded grant, a new program offered by Rocky Mountain Behavioral Health, Inc. now is available that aims to remove barriers standing in the way of clients’ successful treatment,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “Recovery Campus is a recovery support approach that expands treatment beyond individual, group and family therapy. It includes frequent case management and integration of transportation and housing assistance, access to wellness and spiritual services, job coaching and training into the treatment plans of RMBH clients in recovery from substance abuse and domestic violence. Staff includes professional therapists, physicians, case managers and peer coaches.”

“The long-stalled redevelopment of downtown’s City Auditorium block could be revived, and might include a Hyatt-branded hotel and multistory commercial and residential buildings,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. A new redevelopment effort comes as Colorado Springs’ economy surges and as a flurry of public and private projects are under construction or on the drawing board in downtown. Some projects – an apartment building, the Pikes Peak Market and street upgrades along Pikes Peak and Nevada avenues – are pushing east from downtown’s Tejon Street retail and restaurant corridor. That puts renewed emphasis on transforming the auditorium block – bounded by Nevada, Pikes Peak and Kiowa and Weber streets.”

 

1 COMMENT

  1. What’s interesting in stories like this is that the “fighting back” consists of nothing more than bandaids – the fossil fuel corporations basically can’t be legally prevented from doing what the locals are against due to very old laws such as the commerce clause. Essentially the corporations have more rights than individuals.

    I hope these affected communities take a look at what the Pittsburg, PA has done, basically saying “to hell with the unjust laws, we’re going to ban this!”. If done with enough publicity they can use shame and indignation against these corporate bullies that actually know, and have known for decades, that this culture has been living beyond its means on cheap oil and will have to be wound down very carefully to avoid a serious crash.

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