Sandhill cranes face shut-off as Colorado weighs who gets scarce water

Colorado’s effort to replenish its aquifers by cracking down on pumping groundwater threatens to leave the thousands of sandhill cranes that arrive here each February without the water they need.

“This certainly has the potential for changing the dynamics of what we have witnessed for the last 50 years,” said Michael Blenden, federal manager of the San Luis Valley complex of three national wildlife refuges and the Sangre de Cristo Conservation Area.

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Denver Water, Grand County strike deal on Fraser River

Denver Water and Western Slope leaders have reached a deal to try to save the Fraser River and its trout while letting Denver siphon 11 percent more water across the Continental Divide.

The deal obligates city, state and Grand County watershed experts to monitor temperatures in the Fraser and tributaries, count stone flies and other aquatic insects crucial for trout, and document how water flows affect vegetation.

Federal authorities still must approve Denver Water’s $360 million Moffat project, which would put 18,000 acre-feet more water a year into an enlarged Gross Reservoir southwest of Boulder.

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Colorado communities push back as state leaders laud air rules

While Gov. John Hickenlooper, industry leaders and environment advocates praised Colorado’s new statewide air-pollution rules for oil and gas operations, local elected officials and community activists are launching campaigns to buttress local control.

The elected officials, 50 from around the state, have sent a letter urging Hickenlooper and state lawmakers to reinforce local land-use power over oil and gas development.

Separately, Local Control Colorado, a coalition of community activists, is preparing to gather signatures for a November ballot measure that would amend the state constitution to allow stricter local limits.

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Colorado adopts tougher air rules for oil, gas industry

Colorado adopted tougher air pollution rules for the oil and gas industry — the first in the nation to cover methane, a gas linked to climate change.

State air quality control commissioners voted 8-1 on Sunday to pass the rules with the support of leading operators Anadarko Petroleum, Noble Energy and Encana.

But they did so over the protests of much of the oil and gas industry, including the powerful Colorado Oil and Gas Association and Colorado Petroleum Association trade groups.

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Colo. air quality commission mulls whether rules should cover methane

AURORA — Opponents of Colorado’s proposed new air-pollution rules for the oil and gas industry have pressed their case for two days — hammering at the effort backed by Gov. John Hickenlooper to make Colorado the first state to regulate the greenhouse gas methane.

The industry groups Colorado Oil and Gas Association and Colorado Petroleum Association contend any new rules must not cover methane and must not apply statewide.

But leading producers — Anadarko Petroleum, Noble Energy, Encana and DCP Midstream, the nation’s largest oil and gas gathering company — support the rules.

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Colorado air commissioners hear fears of oil and gas drilling

AURORA — Colorado officials sought public views on proposed new air-pollution rules for the oil and gas industry — and faced a barrage of concerns.

A majority of the 120 residents who signed up to testify Wednesday before state air-quality control commissioners strongly supported the rules to reduce toxic emissions.

“Air pollution burns our eyes, ears, noses and throats,” said Peggy Tibbets, who drove from Silt in western Colorado to testify.

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Lawmakers move to free $11.2 million for chemical cleanup tax credit

Dealing with the toxic legacy of PCE and other cancer-causing chemicals poisoning soil, water and air inside buildings will require cooperation, lawmakers and state officials said this week.

The director of Colorado’s $500 million effort to clean up thousands of leaking underground storage tanks at gas stations said he envisions a possible role for his agency in accelerating cleanups.

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Colorado facing oil and gas boom fumes, favors cleaner facilities

PLATTEVILLE — A cleaner kind of oil and gas production has begun at the epicenter of Colorado’s boom, where pollution threatens the state’s hard-won gains in air quality.

There are no storage tanks, a main source of toxic fumes.

Valves that hiss steadily at old-style facilities are replaced by “low-bleed” valves that pollute only in tight spurts.

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Colorado natural resources chief cited for hunting on private property

Colorado’s top natural resources manager is heading to court in Routt County to defend himself against allegations that he hunted elk on private property without permission.

A state wildlife officer on Oct. 12 cited Department of Natural Resources director Mike King for an incident involving use of an all-terrain vehicle while hunting elk in September in the Egeria Park area south of Steamboat Springs.

King pleaded not guilty Dec. 10 and is to appear before Routt County Judge James Garrecht on Feb. 26.

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Poll: Western voters OK with well-planned oil and gas development

Western voters are more likely to support congressional candidates willing to protect nature and public lands, a new poll finds.

But a majority of those polled also favor energy development — of solar and wind, in particular — within limits, according to the survey commissioned as part of Colorado College’s annual State of the Rockies project.

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