oil and gas

Welcome to Valley Roundup, a review of the week’s top news stories in Aspen and beyond.  

Joining us today are Carolyn Sackariason, Editor of the Aspen Daily News and Andy Stone, former editor of and now columnist for the Aspen Times.

This month special taxing districts are holding elections for their boards.  Two are getting a lot of attention because of what happened in their last elections.  Critics are running for seats this time. 

One of those is the Crown Mountain Recreation District. Also facing a shuffle is the Carbondale Fire District.

This week legal wrangling continued over opening files in the Nancy Pfister murder case.

Today we talk with Aspen Times reporter Scott Condon about a squabble in the valley’s environmental activist community.

And, there was more evidence this week that marijuana is getting respectable….The Colorado Symphony Orchestra wants pot smokers to shed the tie-dye and clip on a cumber bun. 

www.garfield-county.com

Garfield County recently released a report showing air pollution is on a decreasing trend. County officials attribute the decline in part, to improvements in how oil and gas companies operate in the region. As Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports, some county residents don’t think the numbers tell the whole story.

A judge schedules the first major court hearings in the Nancy Pfister murder case. Three people are charged with conspiring to kill the Aspen native.

A new study shows there may be a link between natural gas development and defects that develop in a child before birth.

Has Aspen become too expensive for the middle class? We talk to local residents and young business owners to find out how they’re making it work.

Finally, a local theatrical group - the Hudson Reed Ensemble is already preparing for summer. It’ll bring back a favorite event - Shakespeare in the Park.

savethethompsondivide.org

The public is getting a chance this week to comment on what happens to existing oil and gas leases in Garfield, Pitkin and Mesa Counties. Sixty-five leases within the White River National Forest are up for review. Just eight of them hold active infrastructure, like gas wells. The Bureau of Land Management handles the leases and is soliciting feedback on what do with them.

allvail.com

The White River National Forest is working toward the final stages of updating its oil and gas plan. The document sets out rules for the energy industry, like where and when they can operate on the Forest. And, it could impact what happens in the Thompson Divide. The agency is updating the old plan partly because oil and gas operations have advanced in the area. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

tipton.house.gov

In a meeting with Pitkin County Commissioners last week, U.S. Congressman Scott Tipton said he doesn’t support legislation to protect the Thompson Divide from oil and gas drilling. Instead, Tipton wants negotiations between conservationists and energy companies to continue. For years, the sides have been working on an alternate plan to protect the area. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen reports.

Elise Thatcher

There’s a small army of citizen scientists just over the mountains from Carbondale. Residents in the Paonia area are donning special backpacks for twenty-four hours at a time, to collect real time data for scientific study of air pollution.  The aim is to measure what might be getting into the air from nearby oil and gas wells.

Editor's note: Below is a transcript of reporter Elise Thatcher's story. 

Alison Gannett: “Bluebell!”

Portfolio Hardcover

At least one former resident of the Roaring Fork Valley has played a part in the dramatic fracking boom in the last decade. He’s one of several characters examined in a book exploring how fracking started… and there’s an odd connection to restaurants and even the OJ Simpson trial.

 

US Fish and Wildlife Service

The Greater Sage Grouse is in trouble. The bird looks like a large chicken and has an elaborate mating dance… and it's habitat across the West has been under siege for several decades. There’s been big effort to help the bird. Now, Garfield County officials are watching closely as the federal government decides how closely to protect a big chunk of its Colorado habitat. There’s disagreement about how to do that... and huge restrictions on private and public land are at stake if officials get it wrong. The BLM is taking comments on its habitat plan for the Greater Sage Grouse.

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