Patch of prairie draws people to metro Denver’s east edge

AURORA — A 1,100-acre patch of open prairie at the eastern edge of metro Denver is drawing more people — children better at identifying corporate logos than birds and adults whose feet seldom touch soil.

They walk, feeling soft clay and temperature shifts in the wind. They see sky, wispy cirrus streaks and billowy puffs. They hear the scampering of pronghorn. They smell wood fires at a homestead.

Read More

Colorado takes up details in push to cut oil and gas air pollution

Five state lawmakers and Colorado’s biggest oil and gas producers — Anadarko, Encana and Noble — stood behind rules to cut industry air pollution by more than 100,000 tons a year as regulators on Thursday dived into the details.

But some small and midsized companies raised concerns about costs of complying — estimated at $300 per ton of pollution. Colorado Oil and Gas Association president Tisha Schuller told the Air Quality Control Commission that helping companies stay in business must be “an important consideration” and that COGA may convey “ideas for improvement.”

Read More

Colorado pitches new rules to cut oil and gas industry air pollution

State health officials rolled out groundbreaking rules for the oil and gas industry Monday to address worsening air pollution, including a requirement that companies control emissions of the greenhouse gas methane, linked to climate change.

The rules would force companies to capture 95 percent of all toxic pollutants and volatile organic compounds they emit.

Read More

U.S. ivory crush spurs fight to save elephants, stop illicit trade

COMMERCE CITY — American military force may be brought to the growing fight to save elephants and kill a $10 billion illicit trade tied to crime and terrorism, U.S. officials said Thursday before crushing 6 tons of seized ivory.

But deploying drones, choppers and troops to bolster park ranger forces would have to be done delicately to protect human rights and avoid destabilizing Africa, according to wildlife and diplomatic officials.

Read More

Ivory stashed in Denver to be crushed in effort to stave off poaching

A growing stash of more than 6 tons of ivory from slaughtered elephants, heaped in a warehouse north of Denver, is about to be destroyed as part of a new U.S. push to combat illegal wildlife trafficking worldwide. Publicly crushing the smuggled tusks and carvings will be the first act to end what has become a $10 billion illegal industry with security implications officials liken to those of illegal drug dealing.

“Our experience is that the only way to end this trade is to get international support. That’s the goal of what we’re doing with this crush,” said Steve Oberholtzer, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service special-agent-in-charge based in Denver, who is lining up rock-grinders to pulverize the ivory in October.

Read More

As feds crush ivory in Denver to curb poaching, Kerry offers $1M reward to stop elephant killing

U.S. authorities on Thursday crushed 6 tons of seized ivory, each piece cut from dead elephants, signaling resolve to kill a $10 billion illicit trade linked to international crime and terrorism.

Tusks and carved objects seized from airports and border crossings over the past two decades were loaded into a blue rock-grinder near a warehouse at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge where the ivory was kept, and pulverized it all into fine chips.

Arsenal bison herd drew 300,000 visitors, but must be reduced

COMMERCE CITY — Three years after a former weapons and pesticides plant reopened as the nation’s largest urban wildlife preserve, bison are multiplying too fast.

There are 85 today, more than quadruple 2007’s number, threatening to degrade drought-prone prairie at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. Federal biologists say they must cut the herd by 25 — and keep it at 60 until fenced habitat is expanded.

Read More