The Home Front: Trump’s BLM revokes chemical disclosure rules for fracking

“The Trump administration is proceeding with revoking a 2015 rule requiring chemical disclosures and otherwise regulating hydraulic fracturing on federal and tribal lands,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “According to a Bureau of Land Management document released Thursday and scheduled to be published today in the Federal Register, the BLM is issuing a final rule repealing the measure, which never has taken effect due to a court challenge of it. The repeal is effective immediately. ‘This final rule is needed to prevent the unnecessarily burdensome and unjustified administrative requirements and compliance costs of the 2015 rule from encumbering oil and gas development on Federal and Indian lands,’ the document says. The action is likely to be challenged by supporters of the 2015 rule. “This decision is illegal and completely arbitrary and we expect we’ll take the Trump administration to court,” said Michael Freeman, an attorney with the group Earthjustice who up to now had been working to defend the rule from a court challenge aimed at overturning it.”

“Longmont Housing Authority Executive Director Michael Reis confirmed Thursday that Krystal Winship Erazo, LHA director of operations who led the charge on the warrantless searches conducted in May, no longer works for the organization,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “However, Reis would not clarify if Erazo was fired or resigned. Asked whether he could say, Reis replied, ‘I can say a lot of things, but I won’t.'”

“Milliken may have its first retail marijuana store in 2018. The town’s trustees recently approved an application from Nature’s Herbs and Wellness for a 10,000 square-foot, two-story building,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “The building will be the fourth and largest for Nature’s Herbs, which also has storefronts in Garden City, the Denver Tech Center and Log Lane Village near Fort Morgan. “It feels great,” said John Rotherham, Nature’s Herbs and Wellness owner. “We’re excited.” The Milliken Town Board of Trustees approved the application Wednesday, and Rotherham said he hopes to have the store built and opened by the end of 2018.”

“When Tom Newland started working in the Roaring Fork Valley in the 1980s it was as a planning engineer for Pitkin County,” reports The Glenwood Springs Post-Independent. “Over the years, as a private project manager, he has served in various contract capacities for the Colorado Department of Transportation on the Colorado Highway 82 corridor, including as public information officer for Glenwood’s Grand Avenue Paving Project in the mid-2000s and most recently the Grand Avenue Bridge Project. Now, with the new bridge up and running he’s moving to Jackson, Wyoming, to help ease the growing mountain town’s transportation demands.”

“Downtown Steamboat Springs is poised to grow next year along the banks of the Yampa River when developers break ground on exclusive riverfront duplexes in the new RiverView development,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “Plans for the three-story, 3,300-square-foot homes featuring two-car garages were recently submitted to city planners. The low-density residential buildings are the first proposals to come forward as part of a larger development that investors hope in the coming years will also include a new hotel and commercial and retail spaces on the south end of downtown.”

“Few people could survive in Summit County on the wages Breckenridge pays its elected officials alone, but Councilwoman Wendy Wolfe knew she was still broaching ‘a difficult’ topic when she recently suggested now might be a good time to revisit their pay scale,” reports Summit Daily. “Elected to a second term in 2016 and unable to run again because of term limits, Wolfe wasn’t advocating for herself when she said that, “it’s time to consider raising council’s pay and the mayor’s pay,” at the Dec. 12 council meeting. Rather, the two-term councilwoman was simply expressing her belief that the responsibilities of a job she’s done since 2012 aren’t adequately being compensated by the salaries council members receive. And shortly after Wolfe brought it up, Councilman Mark Burke offered his support.”

“In the early fall, the grandmother of a 16-year-old boy who was murdered in December 2015 purchased a statue of an angel and placed it beside his gravestone to stand over him and look down upon where he was laid to rest,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “When bought, the statue had a wing that was broken, so the grandfather of Elijah Aguila took time to restore it to its original state. When Elijah’s father, Luis Aguila, went to visit his son’s resting place on Nov. 12, he was stunned to find that the statue was no longer there.”

“Joan Shaffer never thought she would run for a position on the Loveland City Council; she never thought she’d ever run for a public office of any kind,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “But, after moving to the city in 2005 and deciding she wanted to do good for the community, Shaffer ran and was elected as a representative for Ward II in 2009. She was re-elected every two years since, serving a total of eight, until she retired from the council in November. After a career working in the financial sectors of several nonprofit companies, including two universities, Shaffer transitioned from a behind-the-scenes helper to a city government front-runner. The experience was “evolutionary” for her in that it opened her eyes to issues she never knew existed and a diverse set of opinions from her constituents, Shaffer said.”

“Rob LeVine remembers well what Lionshead Village looked like before the Arrabelle at Vail Square opened in late 2007,” reports Vail Daily. “He also remembers hearing the complaints. LeVine, who was the general manager of the Antlers at Vail at the time, heard those complaints from a handful of condo owners at the Antlers who groused about the new building’s size or how it was out of character for the rest of Lionshead. LeVine would always answer with the same seven words: ‘Did you see what was there before?'”

“A house of worship is meant to be a sanctuary,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “The Islamic Center of Fort Collins is such a refuge, but it is also guarded by 16 high-resolution security cameras, glass-break alarms and motion detectors. These security measures cost about $14,000 and were deemed necessary after a hooded man lobbed two rocks and a Bible into the prayer hall in the early morning hours of a Sunday night in March. People arriving at 5:30 a.m. for the first prayer of the following day discovered shattered glass sprayed across the thick, red carpet. The perpetrator had thrown one rock with enough force to leave scuff marks on the wood paneling on the opposite side of the room.”

“After humans remains were recently identified, the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office stated Wednesday evening that it’s investigating the case as a homicide,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “In a press release Tuesday evening, Fremont County Coroner Randy Keller announced the remains were Remzi Nesfield, 24. His remains were found in western Fremont County. The sheriff’s office stated in its press release that Nesfield lived in the Denver metro area, as well as Phoenix, and was last seen alive in March 2007.”

“As the human footprint continues to expand in eastern Boulder County, so grows the number of incidents in some neighborhoods in which people are reporting alarming encounters with coyotes,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “At the request of Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Erie has put out the call for a “coyote crew” in an effort to muster area residents who can assist in hazing and education. Such is the level of concern in the community that the response has been described as nearly overwhelming. CPW district wildlife officer Kristin Cannon said Thursday that she had received between 20 and 25 contacts from people wanting to serve on the crew in the first 24 hours since the initiative was announced.”

“A local effort to build an affordable place for artists and other creative types to live and work in downtown Colorado Springs is gaining momentum,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “What’s needed now is a location. The project – which aims to create up to 70 “live/work” apartments for creatives along with additional studio spaces – got a boost this month when the Downtown Development Authority approved up to $750,000 to locate a site for the complex and for some of the design work, said Bob Wolfson, founder of the Colorado Springs Creative Collective and a lead on the project. The idea of offering an affordable housing opportunity specifically for creative workers came to Wolfson in 2015, he said. Soon after he brought local organizations to the table with Minneapolis-based Artspace, which has developed about 50 similar complexes around the country.”

“For more than two decades, Colorado has received hundreds of millions of dollars from its share of settlements with tobacco companies — money that has been used to support dozens of programs, including one that helps first-time moms — that came from lawsuits to recoup the costs of health care spending attributed to smoking-related illnesses,” reports The Denver Post. “But that money is already starting to dwindle, so state legislators have scrambled to find a source of funds that could ensure those helpful programs don’t disappear. The most obvious, if not ironic, source: marijuana money.”

“Tom Tancredo wants to participate in an upcoming gubernatorial candidate forum sponsored by the Colorado Hispanic Republicans, a campaign spokesman says, but the organization has said the event lineup is set and there’s no room for the former five-term congressman known for his hard-line positions on illegal immigration,” reports ColoradoPolitics. “In response, the Tancredo campaign is asking the Colorado GOP to determine whether the group — which is loosely affiliated with the state party but not sanctioned by it — can continue its association with the Republicans if it treats some primary candidates differently than others. GOP officials counter that the Colorado Hispanic Republicans, organized as a so-called 527 nonprofit, is under no obligation to remain neutral in a primary and is more akin to a “club” than any sort of official GOP organization.”

“Republicans have elected just one governor in Colorado in the last 43 years, but when they look at the Democratic field for 2018, they see a chance to do something Democrats traditionally have been better at: run the more centrist candidate,” reports Denverite. “Speaking as a Republican, it’s an opportunity for my party to command the political center, where the race is always won or lost,” said John Andrews, former president of the state Senate and a fellow at Colorado Christian University’s Centennial Institute. “You run to your base in the primary and to the center in the general, and it requires some agility. Republicans have a huge opportunity because the Democrats are running to the left.” Democrats have elected a series of governors in then-Republican-dominated Colorado in part by choosing candidates with appeal outside the party base. Women’s rights activists tolerated former prosecutor Bill Ritter’s pro-life stance because there was a sense that such compromises were the only way to elect a Democrat. As a former small businessman and petroleum geologist, Gov. John Hickenlooper’s background couldn’t have been better if a consultant cooked it up in a candidate laboratory. Roy Romer also had a business background. Dick Lamm, while perceived as liberal in many ways, supports restrictions on immigration and warned about the dangers of multiculturalism. He would be an awkward fit in today’s Democratic Party.”


The Colorado Independent is a statewide online news source operating in a time when spin is plentiful, but factual, fair and unflinching news in the public interest is all too rare. Our award-winning team of veteran investigative and explanatory reporters and news columnists aims to amplify the voices of Coloradans whose stories are unheard, shine light on the relationships between people, power and policy, and hold public officials to account. We strive to report the news with context, social conscience, and soul, and to give Coloradans the insight they need to promote conversation, understanding and progress in this square, swing state we call home.


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