The Home Front: An oil and gas company dropped plans to drill under a ‘drinking water’ lake in Colorado

Your morning roundup of stories from the front pages of newspapers across Colorado

“An oil and gas company that recently applied to the state to drill 14 wells that would extend underneath Standley Lake in Westminster, which provides drinking water to 300,000 people, withdrew its application Thursday amid rising outcry over the proposal,” reports The Denver Post. “Highlands Natural Resources Corp. also dropped its application for 14 proposed wells under the nearby 420-acre Westminster Hills Off-Leash Dog Park, which is just north of the lake.”

“In the weeks before the 2018 election, operators applied to drill 34 new oil and gas wells in Larimer County that would have violated the setbacks proposed in Proposition 112,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “The wells, to be located south of Loveland and in the Johnstown area, represent a substantial spike in drilling applications in Larimer County. For comparison, operators applied for eight new wells in Larimer County between October 2017 and October 2018, five of which remain on indefinite hold.”

“The head of the Upper Colorado River Commission on Thursday told a Grand Junction audience that proposed new interstate agreements contain important provisions aimed at helping fend off the short-term threats that drought poses to the region,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “Amy Haas, the commission’s executive director, says the centerpiece of the new deals from the perspective of Upper Colorado River Basin states is a provision providing for storage in Lake Powell and other Upper Basin reservoirs for water that might be conserved through any demand management program in the Upper Basin.”

“Rochelle Galindo has won the House District 50 race, beating Republican Michael Thuener 53.25 percent to 46.75 percent in race that set a district record for midterm turnout, according to unofficial final results released Thursday night,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “The result was far from certain on Election Night, when Galindo trailed Thuener as early results were released. As more results trickled in, into Wednesday, the race shifted for Galindo by just 70 votes, a margin she would hold throughout the day Thursday, culminating in a 1,468-vote margin of victory.”

“Boulder County commissioners in a 2-1 vote Thursday approved a one-year pilot program to study the use of e-bikes on trails throughout Boulder County Open Space,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “Commissioner Cindy Domenico voted against the measure. There were plenty of people at Thursday night’s meeting who were concerned that allowing e-bikes on county trails would compromise safety and overcrowd the already well-used trails, but after nearly 40 public comments, commissioners ultimately determined that the ability of e-bikes to reduce the number of vehicles on the roads and to allow the elderly or disabled to use the trails more efficiently was of larger consequence — especially considering the low number of conflicts already and the fact that class 1 and 2 e-bikes top out at 20 mph, a rate of speed many traditional cyclists can hit under their own power.”

“Attorney Nick Gradisar and City Council President Chris Nicoll finished first and second in Pueblo’s first mayoral election in decades, and the two candidates appear destined for a run-off election in January,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “However … That’s if the numbers hold, particularly between Nicoll and third- and fourth-place finishers Steve Nawrocki and Lori Winner. Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder Gilbert ‘Bo’ Ortiz said that there are about 1,000 ballots with discrepancies still out that could be cured by voters. Ballots can be cured up until Wednesday, according to Ortiz.”

“Campaign signs are falling fast after Tuesday’s 2018 midterm elections, but another commonly posted sign across Summit County looks like it’s here to stay for much longer: Help Wanted,” reports Summit Daily. “The latest unemployment figures from the Frisco Workforce Center, an organization managed through the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment that’s devoted to helping people find work across the county, have Summit’s jobless rate at 2.1 percent, near historic lows. The all-time low for September came last year at 1.9 percent. That’s almost two full points below the national jobless rate (3.7 percent) and over one point below the state’s jobless rate (3.1 percent), both of which have been referenced as indicators of a strong economy. In Summit, however, the low jobless rate remains a cause for concern. Generally speaking, a 3-4 percent unemployment rate is considered a healthy target by policymakers.”

“The new district ranger for the Hahns Peak/Bears Ears Ranger District, based out of Steamboat Springs, was looking for a smaller, close-knit community when she applied for the job,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “‘I had a desire to get back to a position that allowed me to interact with more of a precise piece of ground and community,’ said Tara Umphries, who started her new job Oct. 14. She replaces Chad Stewart, who left to be the district ranger for the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests.”

“Eric Gray was found guilty Thursday of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Gerald Donovan in 2015 and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “The jury’s verdict indicated that Gray had used a deadly weapon — an AK-47-style rifle — to shoot and kill a person of protected status, in this case, over 70 years old. Donovan was 75 years old on June 6, 2015, when he was shot and killed in a cul-de-sac just north of Loveland.”

“Final election results for two tight races in La Plata County – for commissioner and treasurer – may be unknown for at least a week,” reports The Durango Herald. “In Tuesday’s election, the two races came down to the wire. Candidates for commissioner and treasurer went toe-to-toe throughout the night, resulting in near 50-50 splits.”

“In 2002, the Eagle County Open Space tax was approved by a total of about 50 votes,” reports Vail Daily. “On Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, voters in Eagle County approved a 15-year extension of the tax, meant to expire in 2025, by more than 13,000 votes. Since 2002, Eagle County Open Space has added recreational opportunities and preserved more than 12,000 acres through more than 30 projects, including 8 acres at Dotsero Landing in 2011 and the 1,540 acres preserved at Hardscrabble in 2017, among others.”

“The Cañon City Police Department will offer a free, two-session domestic violence prevention training that aims to show the public how to recognize unsafe situations and physically protect themselves from attackers from 8 5 p.m Saturday at City Hall,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “Vicky Szeliga, CCPD volunteer coordinator, will use the first four hours to teach using the National Rifle Association-developed Refuse To Be A Victim course. According to the NRA’s website, the seminar is not a firearms or self-defense class and can focus on a broad range of topics from vehicle safety to domestic violence.”

“Boulder will revisit tighter towing rules in the near and distant future after a discussion over ways to limit impacts on low-income residents spanned several hours Thursday night,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “City council did not pass an ordinance, continuing the second hearing so that tweaks could be incorporated into the suggested regulations. One of those included dropping a waiting period that was opposed by landlords and business owners who said it would encourage illegal parking.”

“Elections are decisions, and Colorado voters clearly favored some over others this year. Here’s Colorado Politics’ take on who came out on top in the Colorado midterms,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “The blue wave was a bit choppy nationally. Democrats captured the U.S. House and gained several governorships, while Republicans held onto the U.S. Senate. But in Colorado, it was a GOP washout. Democrats retained the governor’s office, took full control of the Legislature along with the full slate of statewide executive offices — attorney general, treasurer and secretary of state. It’s been decades since that’s been the case.”


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.


  1. “That’s almost two full points below the national jobless rate (3.7 percent)…”

    In Nov. 2015, Donald Trump said on the campaign trail that the Obama BLS’ 4.9 percent jobless rate is essentially government
    propaganda and that the true measure is as high as 42 percent.

    Yet, Donald Trump has contined the same scheme of lies.

    As per the BLS, Oct 2018 Employment Situation Summary Table A:
    101,952,000 Americans ARE STILL UNEMPLOYED (that almost 102 MILLION, folks)
    Yet 95,877,000 aren’t counted as such in the official stats.
    That number has climbed from Oct 2017 (which was 95,395,000).

    As per shadowstats, the REAL unemployment rate is still over 21 percent.
    As per the BLS Displaced Workers Summary:
    • Over 3 million Americans lost their jobs in the past three years.
    • Only 2 million of those found new jobs.
    • About 1 million of those had to take new jobs with lesser pay than their previous lost job.
    Thus, 1 Million additional unemployed, with another million making less than before.
    Those don’t happen in truly good economies.

    In a TRUE low-unemployment situation:
    • Wages rise quickly.
    • Firms like The Denver Post and Union Pacific (among numerous others) don’t layoff hundreds.
    • Cities don’t throw tens of millions at billion dollar companies desperately trying to attract new jobs.
    • Immigrants are herded & deported, as their labor is necessary.
    • Budget deficits in the hundreds of billions don’t happen.
    • Extremely high “tariffs” (veiled taxes) aren’t implemented.
    • Farm incomes aren’t falling

    In fact, some 40 percent of Americans rely on some form of government welfare benefit.
    Food stamp usage is near record highs, just below its 2013 peak.

    This is called “spin”, aka propaganda.
    In a truly good economy, the spin doesn’t have to be constantly rammed down our throats.
    A truly good economy is obvious on its own merits.

    The economy is over 70 percent driven by consumer spending.
    As such, consumers have to be made to believe that things are good, in order to keep them spending, to keep the economy from completely tanking.
    That’s why consumer debt is rising over 300 times faster than wages.

    Employers need to be led to believe unemployment is low to engage the psychological trigger to hire.

    If the American economy is doing so well, why is everyone in America so angry?

    The WTID wealth inequality index reaced a peak in 1927-1929, just before the Great Depression.
    That WTID index has now surpassed that 1927-1928 peak, reaching the highest level EVER in U.S. history.

    The funny thing is, Journalists these days mostly just repeat what they read elsewhere.
    Few do the research to more accurately portray the truth of the situation.

    This is one of the constructs of effective propaganda.

    Read “Propaganda” (1928) by Edward Bernays.

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