Thompson Divide

Marci Krivonen

As the fight to keep natural gas drilling out of an area known as the Thompson Divide continues, two Roaring Fork Valley residents who operate lodging near the Divide flew over the contested area last week with Ecoflight. They say energy development would hurt their business. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen went on the flyover and filed this report.

The clouds are clearing as our Cessna 210 leaves the ground. It’s a smooth takeoff and right away, snowcapped peaks come into view.

Mountain Edition - October 9th, 2014

Oct 9, 2014

Good afternoon and welcome to Mountain Edition.

This week county clerks in Colorado began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. We catch up with the first couple to wed in Garfield County.

Residents of the Valley who operate lodging businesses say natural gas drilling in the Thompson Divide would hurt their bottom line.

And, we hear from the two state house candidates working to earn votes in Pitkin County.

Finally, we catch up with filmmaker Jason Reitman whose new movie, “Men, Women and Children” screened in Aspen last week.

Good afternoon, and welcome to Mountain Edition.

You’ve probably noticed we’re in our summer pledge drive this week… so today we’re bringing you an update on the latest local news.

Like efforts to restrict drilling on the Thompson Divide… lots of business in the valley this summer... and what we know now about theories on who may have been involved in Nancy Pfister’s death.

Then we’ll hear some of our favorite stories over the last several months… One man says he’s the only Ute tribal member who lives in the Roaring Fork Valley.

And, we chat with a local rabbi considered one of the most inspiring in the country.

We’ll hear about one of the tough issues in the Roaring Fork Valley. Heroin overdoses have claimed several lives this year.

As for the pledge drive, thanks if you’ve already made a gift or renewed your membership. If’s time.

Because nearly half of Aspen Public Radio’s funding comes from listeners like you. Please consider making a pledge, at whatever amount is comfortable.

Call us at 920- 9000 during regular business hours, or give anytime on the interwebs, that’s aspen public radio dot org.

We’ve got lots of good stories for you during this special pledge drive edition of Mountain Edition... starting now.

Natural Gas drilling in an area near Carbondale known as the Thompson Divide is still a possibility, despite protest from many local residents. The group trying to stop it is hopeful a Forest Service plan, due out later this summer, will prevent future drilling.

Colorado Trout Unlimited

The Thompson Creek watershed that flows through the contested Thompson Divide area, received a special designation this week. On Tuesday, the state’s Water Quality Control Commission approved an “Outstanding Waters” designation for several branches of Thompson Creek, near Carbondale.

To win approval the stream has to meet several high quality standards and, the designation prohibits certain pollutants from being discharged into the water. Aaron Kindle is with Colorado Trout Unlimited, which fought for the designation. He says it protects fish.

Marci Krivonen

Pitkin County is reiterating its opposition to drilling in the Thompson Divide area through a letter to the Bureau of Land Management. The BLM is taking comments on its review of 65 oil and gas leases that stretch over the White River National Forest. Twenty-five of those leases are in the Thompson Divide, southwest of Carbondale.

Bureau of Land Management

A set of meetings on how to manage dozens of oil and gas leases in Western Colorado wrapped up last week, and opinions vary wildly. The Bureau of Land Management held the meetings in April and May to solicit public feedback.

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.

Garfield County

   The Thompson Divide Coalition announced yesterday that Garfield County is supporting proposed legislation to protect the Thompson Divide. Hours later, the County denied that description… and said Commissioners said no such thing. 

 It was a day of dueling press releases. Around eleven A.M., the Coalition announced that commissioners with Pitkin, Gunnison and Garfield Counties are making a plea... to Republican Representative Scott Tipton to support pending legislation that would limit oil and gas development on the Thompson Divide. 

Mountain Edition - February 13th, 2014

Feb 13, 2014

A new report says there isn’t enough natural gas in the Thompson Divide to make it worth drilling. But the industry argues there aren’t enough facts to say if the leases would be a bust…

A new marijuana task force is meeting for the first time today. The goal is to monitor the effects of recreational pot on the Roaring Fork Valley.

The City of Aspen’s utility wants to run on 100-percent renewable energy and its enlisted the help of a government laboratory to help them get there. Aspen will inch closer to its renewable goal when it starts taking power from a new hydro plant in Ridgway later this month.

Local teenagers are getting a lesson on slam poetry. Two performance artists are visiting schools this week, teaching kids how to write and deliver “spoken word” poetry.

Finally, a Durango biathlete is competing in Sochi tomorrow. Her story is a unique one - she owes her Olympic bid to her twin sister.