Environment

Environmental coverage

Marci Krivonen/Aspen Public Radio News

Mayor Steve Skadron is speaking on a panel about green cities in Dubai this week. It is the third major international environmental conference for Skadron since he represented Aspen at the UN climate talks in Paris last December. Skadron has also spoken at events in Taiwan and Seoul, South Korea.

Residences at the Little Nell promotional photo

Five months after discovering fecal matter leaking from the Residences at the Little Nell into Aspen’s stormwater drainage, the hotel remains cut off from the city’s system.

Courtesy of Aspen Words

Jenny Price, Aspen Words’ writer in residence for September, spent her month here working on her book titled “Stop Saving the Planet!”

Price describes the book as a polemical text, and it highlights the flaws she sees in the design of current environmental change movements. Price said she hopes that the book starts a dialogue.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy/Aspen Public Radio News

Pitkin County Open Space and Trails has opened a new world for mountain bikers at Sky Mountain Park since 2012, but some are saying it’s destroying a key habitat for area wildlife. Aspen Public Radio’s Elizabeth Stewart-Severy checked out the newest trail in the network to see how the program balances ecological concerns with growing demand for recreation.  

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy/Aspen Public Radio

Last night, Aspen City Council approved an ordinance to fine heavy duty diesel vehicles that emit too much smoke.

 

The new law localizes a state-wide regulation that requires diesel vehicles to keep emissions below 40 percent opacity, which is the measure of the particulate in smoke from trucks. Trucks are periodically stopped and tested; six of the 33 trucks at a test conducted earlier this summer failed.

Aspen Public Radio News

After 40 years working for the U.S. Forest Service, Martha Moran is retiring. Aspen Public Radio’s Elizabeth Stewart-Severy spent a day at Maroon Lake last week with the recreation planner and has this profile.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy/Aspen Public Radio News

The Aspen Skiing Company announced yesterday that it is accepting applications for grants to support environmental projects.

 

Courtesy of U.S. Forest Service, www.fs.usda.gov

Candidates running for local, state, and national offices speak tonight in Carbondale about management and funding of public lands.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy/Aspen Public Radio News

Some of the water from the Roaring Fork watershed follows the usual route, from high peaks down to the Colorado River. But much of the snowmelt and rain from this basin is redirected to water-starved cities on the Front Range. Aspen Public Radio’s Elizabeth Stewart-Severy joined a rare tour of the tunnels that move water to the other side of Independence Pass.

Wilderness Workshop

After the city took a rare step in seeking public input, staff is rejecting the overwhelming suggestion to abandon the rights. David Hornbacher, who is heading up the project for the city, wrote in a memo to city council that staff recommends keeping those rights.

Courtesy of U.S. Forest Service

Fire officials are keeping a close eye on a fire burning about a mile northwest of Highland Bowl.

The Maroon Fire was ignited by lightning last Tuesday, and smoke was visible yesterday. Firefighters are not on the ground because of potential dangers.

Brent Gardner-Smith/Aspen Journaiism

City of Aspen staff is directing council to keep water rights for reservoirs on Castle and Maroon Creeks. As Elizabeth Stewart-Severy reports, this goes against public sentiment.

Sally Jewell, the Secretary of the Interior and Tom Vilsack, the Secretary of Agriculture, came to Colorado Tuesday to urge a change in how the federal government pays to fight catastrophic wildfires.

"The solution is for these fires to be looked upon in the same way we look at tornadoes, hurricanes, and floods, they're natural disasters and they should be funded as such," Vilsack said.

Interior's Jewell agrees the funding mechanism should change.

High Country News

The White River National Forest is about to get deluged with summer users. The Forest Service is contemplating a management plan, but it won’t be implemented this year. Aspen Public Radio’s Carolyn Sackariason has more.

District Ranger Karen Schroyer says she needs more information from the public before making any decisions on how to curb the overuse in areas like Condundrum Hot Springs or the Maroon Bells/Snowmass Wilderness area. She plans to get feedback from recreationalists in Denver this summer.

http://www.thearmchairexplorer.com/colorado/glenwood_springs_colorado

The White River National Forest headquarters in Glenwood Springs has re-opened for business. The National Forest Service says the supervisor and staff returned this morning to their newly renovated offices at 900 Grand Avenue. Among the upgrades are improved heating and cooling systems, energy saving electrical, water saving plumbing as well as the removal of asbestos from the historic building. For the past two years, the 30-plus employees of the White River National Forest have worked remotely from ranger stations in Rifle, Carbondale, Minturn and the BLM office in Silt.

Auden Schendler – Aspen Skiing Company, Olivia Siegel – ACES, and Naomi Oreskes – filmmaker and historian on this weekend's showing of the film “Merchants of Doubt” at the Wheeler Opera House.

http://www.wheeleroperahouse.com/events/detail/merchants-of-doubt

Today on CrossCurrents - Annie Denver and Karmen Dopslaff on John Denver's Aspenglow Fund, which has been quietly supporting environmental and educational causes in the Roaring Fork Valley and around the world.

http://www.rmi.org/winter_2014_esj_rmi_in_brief_john_denver_aspenglow

Also, Aspen Public Radio is pleased to announce the receipt of a grant from The John Denver Aspenglow Fund at the Aspen Community Foundation to support news coverage, outreach, and education on the environment.

Elise Thatcher

Oil and gas companies were responsible for over seven hundred spills in Colorado last year.  There were 128 in Garfield County-- making up nearly twenty percent of accidents statewide.  That’s according to a review of public data by the Denver nonprofit, Center for Western Priorities.   A spokesman for the agency that oversees oil and gas development in Colorado, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, is "neither endorsing nor challenging" the report.  APR’s Elise Thatcher talks with CWP's Policy Director Greg Zimmerman, who points out the spills released more than a million gallons of oil and other chemicals into the environment.

Rios to Rivers

Weston Boyles, Executive Director of Rios to Rivers

Ríos to Rivers is uniting young kayakers from Patagonia, Chile and Colorado with kayaking expeditions in Chile on the Río Baker and in the US on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. The Chilean kayakers will see for the first time a mega-dam and the resultant impacts on the river. US students will experience the majesty of an undeveloped river flowing through a pristine wilderness. The group will learn about the ecological impacts of dams, explore viable renewable energy sources, and take part in cultural exchange.

Today on CrossCurrents - last month, the federal government released the new Record of Decision on oil and gas leasing on the White River National Forest.  Guests are Will Roush of the Wilderness Workshop and Zane Kessler from the Thompson Divide Coalition.

http://www.wildernessworkshop.org/

http://www.savethompsondivide.org/about-us/mission-and-vision.html

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