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One of the biggest loopholes conservationists want closed in Colorado’s revised roadless rule released by the state Monday is an exception for logging roads...
A troubled private ski and golf development near the old railroad town of Minturn off the backside of Vail Mountain was dealt another blow...
Four Colorado projects that convert wood waste, or biomass, into energy received a total of $1 million in federal stimulus funds Thursday, but a state with more than two million acres of dead and dying lodgepole pine forests could use a lot more.
A year ago this time, Florida real estate developer Bobby Ginn was celebrating a big victory at the polls in the tiny former mining and railroad town of Minturn, Colo., where voters had cleared the path for his proposed Battle Mountain private ski and golf resort.
Funding sources to turn millions of acres of dead and dying lodgepole pines into biomass-generated heat and electricity are seemingly coming out of the woodwork. With the governor’s Energy Office pushing state grants and aggressive renewable-energy programs — coupled with the potential for millions in federal stimulus dollars — the beetle-kill biomass dreams of ski towns like Vail and Avon no longer look like a kooky environmentalist's pipe dream.
Colorado's unemployment rate might be at a 20-year high, but the sheriff's department in posh Eagle County is hiring people "who hang out with crooks," The Denver Post's Kirk Mitchell notices. "Drug use and criminal record"? No problem, according to a help-wanted ad placed last week in the Vail Daily seeking stool pigeons in the ski community.
Most of the Colorado focus of stories detailing the fallout of Bernard Madoff’s $65 billion Ponzi scheme have dealt with Aspen’s Jewish community, which is reeling from the real estate ripple effects. But one of the most high-profile – and at one point controversial – development projects that might be impacted by Madoff’s epic 20-year pattern of investment fraud is in Vail, where a massive $250 million development in the heart of the faux-Bavarian village is currently under construction.
Not to be outdone by its up-valley neighbor Vail, the mountain town of Avon, 10 miles to the west, is also considering building a wood gasification biomass power plant that would consume beetle-kill trees and provide hot-water heat and electricity throughout town. Both cities are now on the hunt to capture renewable energy dollars from the federal stimulus package with innovative but proven technologies and a bevy of dead trees to fuel the projects.
It's hard to imagine nearly 2 million acres of dead and dying lodgepole pine trees being anything more than a terrible eyesore and potential fuel for a catastrophic wildfire. But Vail Town Councilman Mark Gordon says those trees could provide nearly 100 percent of the ski resort town's hot water and electricity needs, and he envisions a biomass gasification power plant becoming a model for the rest of the state.
State Sen. Dan Gibbs (D-Dillon) took his controversial transportation-funding bill on the road over the weekend, trying to get out in front a fickle public largely unwilling to increase taxes for road and bridge fixes in recent years.