The Home Front: Trump administration would allow drilling in Colorado ‘next to some of the nation’s most pristine wilderness and headwaters’

“From a small plane circling over secluded grassy meadows and Sangre de Cristo Mountain spires, politicians and conservationists on Friday will see the stakes as the federal government pushes to open 18,000 acres next to some of the nation’s most pristine wilderness and headwaters to fossil fuels development,” reports The Denver Post. “But the Trump administration’s proposed sell-off of mineral rights on the eastern slopes of the mountains for possible oil and gas drilling puts locals in a quandary. On one hand, Huerfano County ranks among the poorest in Colorado after decades of mineral booms and busts. One county commissioner and a state senator said new drilling could bring much-needed bucks. On the other hand, people here rely on the Huerfano River watershed and a natural solitude and beauty that increasingly attracts well-heeled visitors. Drilling could be done on parcels touching the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness Area, and as close as one mile from the boundary of the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. Newly acquired Navajo ancestral property lies to the north, and Navajos consider two mountains in the area to be sacred.”

“Students across the Roaring Fork Valley are working on films about climate change amid a time when wildfires, extremely dry conditions, drought, and rising temperatures are at the forefront of environmental conversations in the state and across the globe,” reports The Glenwood Springs Post-Independent. “The weeklong effort, in which students are making films, encourages youth to explore ways in which climate change affects their own individual lives. The project, in its third year, was funded by the National Science Foundation, which gave CU Boulder a $1.1 million grant to host a series of programs like this across the state. The Cooperative Institute for Research In Environmental Sciences, or CIRES, is an extension of CU Boulder that spearheads the development of the project.”

“In the wake of repeated liquor law violations, the Greeley Stampede during a special events permit hearing Thursday retained the right to serve alcohol at this year’s event,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “Since at least 2006, the Stampede has apparently violated six state laws, regulations or municipal codes, according to the January 2018 summary of a Greeley Police Department investigation that began in late 2017. The investigation began with a late-November tip from members of two nonprofits that had worked with the Stampede — The Greeley Stampede Riders and The Wranglers Inc. — alleging the Stampede bought alcohol at wholesale cost and sold the alcohol at an inflated price to nonprofit organizations that agreed to work concession booths featuring alcohol, according to the summary. Police found the Stampede had violated a number of laws and rules, including selling alcohol wholesale without a liquor license, according to police records.”

“The Federal Aviation Administration awarded Grand Junction Regional Airport two grants totaling $5.2 million as part of its plan to build a new runway,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “The grants, announced by U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, were part of $34.3 million in infrastructure funding awarded to several airports statewide.”

“There is a backlog of people sitting in county jails awaiting court-ordered competency tests at the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo and a Denver advocacy group reopened a lawsuit in federal court Wednesday to force the state to limit that wait to no more than 28 days,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “Disability Law Colorado first sued the Department of Human Services in 2011 over the delays in getting people evaluated at CMHIP. The two sides eventually reached the 28-day agreement. The advocacy group reopened that lawsuit this week, saying DHS continually fails to meet that agreement and that hundreds of people have been waiting in county jails for up to five months to get an evaluation at CMHIP.”

“Residents of the Mesa Cortina and Wildernest neighborhoods came back to homes untouched by fire Thursday afternoon as an evacuation order for the Buffalo Mountain Fire was lifted and replaced with a pre-evacuation notice,” reports Summit Daily. “As Summit County’s first wildfire of the season entered its third day, officials were optimistic that the massive early response and past mitigation efforts worked in keeping people and homes safe. Authorities announced during a community meeting Wednesday night at the Silverthorne Pavilion that the fire remained at 91 acres and that power and gas had been restored to the neighborhoods. The fire danger in the county was also raised to “Very High” as forests continue to dry out and raise the danger of another wildfire exploding in the backcountry.”

“Quick action by Steamboat Springs firefighters and bystanders helped save the life of a man who had a heart attack Wednesday night while playing hockey at Howelsen Ice Arena,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue Capt. Michael Arce said it was the first game of the summer season, and he was headed to the bench when he heard that someone was down on the ice. ‘I’m thinking a collision, maybe someone popped a knee,’ Arce said.”

“Larimer County saw its first rabid bat June 6 in downtown Loveland, marking one of many non-skunk creatures to catch the disease in Colorado,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “According to the county’s map of rabies-positive animals, the bat was reported in the 200 block of North Garfield Avenue and is Loveland’s first rabid animal of the season. As of June 8, Colorado has reported 14 rabid bats; the rise in rabid bats has occurred as the number of skunks — 170 so far this year — has stagnated.”

“Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company crews are expected to start improving the Ninth Avenue railroad crossing between Airport Road and Hover Street on Wednesday, city officials said,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “At that point, BNSF will begin upgrading the crossing, as well as expanding it to accommodate a city project to widen the roadway and install a sidewalk there. Project manager Alden Jenkins, a Public Works and Natural Resources Department civil engineer, said in a Thursday email that Ninth Avenue will be closed to all traffic at the crossing during BNSF’s work, which he said is expected to take about three days.”

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