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Elizabeth Stewart-Severy/Aspen Journalism

 

The Lake Christine wildfire last summer not only destroyed three homes and torched thousands of acres of forest, it also came dangerously close to taking down poles holding the full loop of power lines in Basalt.  After this close call, Holy Cross Energy partnered with Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) to find ways to keep the lights on if there’s another disaster. 

Aspen Public Radio

At the Energy and Environment Symposium last week in Rifle, local government officials from around Colorado rubbed elbows with oil and gas industry representatives.

 

The annual event was especially charged, given that Gov. Jared Polis had just signed Senate Bill 181 into law, granting local governments new authority to regulate oil and natural gas.


Elise Thatcher

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is taking public comment on a proposal for four new well pads near Rifle. It's the second phase of an ongoing project.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Public Radio

Colorado's conservation policies earned a top ranking among western states.

 

Non-Profit in the Spotlight: CORE, Week 4

May 22, 2017

CORE would like to expand their outreach into even more communities. CORE keeps their eye on a national level, yet focuses on local and state levels to do what they can. CORE started collecting energy wasting "True Confessions" from the public.

Non-Profit in the Spotlight: CORE, Week 3

May 15, 2017

CORE encourages valley residents to know that they can make their homes or apartments safer and more efficient. CORE emphasizes that it's important for building codes to be responsive to today's needs of reducing green house gas emissions.

Non-Profit in the Spotlight: CORE, Week 2

May 8, 2017

CORE collaborates with local towns to adopt new building codes and energy efficient programs. Along with the City of Aspen, CORE created a new social movement called "The High-Five". They hope to inspire the community to start saving or to increase the amount of energy they are already saving.

Non-Profit in the Spotlight: CORE, Week 1

May 1, 2017

CORE was founded in 1994, when the awareness of climate change shed light on how the Roaring Fork Valley's economy is dependent on a good, clean environment. Energy consumption is universal. CORE says that saving energy helps to protect our environment and our economy. 

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy/Aspen Public Radio News

As the weather heats up, local energy organizations and utilities are offering residents opportunities to make their homes more efficient.

Aspen Public Radio News

Administrators at Aspen schools recently finished a thorough round of testing, but these tests are not for students. They are designed to see if the district’s buildings are performing as efficiently as they should be, and there is some real work to do to get smarter.

http://www.energysmartcolorado.com/aspenenergychallenge

As 2016 draws to a close, so does the Aspen Energy Challenge, but the city is continuing work on energy efficiency.

  Carbondale voters are considering increasing taxes. One would allow property taxes to go up to help pay for capital costs — like sidewalks and roads. The other would tax electricity and natural gas use. As Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher reports, the energy tax is modeled closely on a similar one in Boulder.

Oil and Gas Mission Change Bill Defeated

Mar 2, 2016
Marci Krivonen

A bill seeking to change the mission of Colorado’s energy regulators failed in the Senate Agriculture Committee Wednesday. 

tinyrevolution.us

  Carbondale voters will consider two tax increases this spring. One would be on some utilities, the other would raise property taxes.

City of Aspen

Of the 60 communities enrolled in the Georgetown University Energy Prize, Aspen is in third place. The two-year conservation competition looks at energy use in residential and government buildings.

KATHLEEN TADVICK/COLORADO PARKS AND WILDLIFE

A Garfield County elected official is cheering Tuesday's (9/22) federal decision to keep the greater sage grouse off the endangered species list. 

Garfield County has 220,000 acres of greater sage grouse habitat. About half is on private land owned mostly by mineral companies and large ranches. Garfield County Commissioner Tom Jankovsky led the charge on this issue. His opinion reflects the board’s feelings. He says had the bird been listed, landowners would have faced onerous federal regulations.

Marci Krivonen

The Forest Service was met by protesters Tuesday (9/2/15) in a remote area in the Thompson Divide, southwest of Carbondale. The agency is starting a review of a proposal to drill an exploratory well. But, the group gathered doesn’t want any natural gas drilling. They say the area’s natural environment is too valuable. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

It’s tough to imagine coming up here for anything other than peaceful moments in the great outdoors. But about 40 people Tuesday maneuvered mud-caked roads to protest drilling. Some even slept over.

Marci Krivonen

Construction is more than halfway done on what’s expected to be one of the most energy efficient buildings in the world. Rocky Mountain Institute’s Innovation Center in Basalt will house offices and a large conference and community room.

In 1969, the Atomic Energy Commission used a nuclear bomb 8,000' below the ground in Rulison, Colorado, to crack a fracture zone to release natural gas. Thirty-five years later, a small Texas energy company applied to drill wells in the area. Chelsea Brundige, board trustee of the Public Counsel of the Rockies, and Tim McFlynn, founder and board chair of Public Counsel, discuss the case and outcome. 

Kathleen Tadvick/Colorado Parks and Wildlife

The BLM says a new federal plan for helping a bird in Garfield County is necessary because it aims to protect habitat. The agency, and the Forest Service, announced the new approach last week. The number of greater sage grouse is declining and the idea is to keep the bird off the endangered species list. Marci Krivonen spoke with David Boyd, a public affairs specialist for the BLM in northwest Colorado.

David Boyd works out of the BLM office in Silt. After a review and protest period, the plan will go into effect, probably sometime in July.

Your Evening News - January 27th, 2015

Jan 27, 2015

Customer Airs Concerns About Glenwood Hot Springs

Garfield County officials are not asking the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool and Lodge to change sanitary measures after a bacteria complaint.

Last summer, the therapy pool at the hot springs tested positive for a bacteria that isn’t regulated by the state or federal government. It’s one of the causes of hot tub rash, but is dangerous only for people with weaker immune systems, like cancer patients. Josh Williams is Garfield County environmental health manager and explains his review of the hot springs’ regular efforts to keep facilities clean.

“I mean their monitoring and tracking of that is above and beyond the required testing is for bacterial contamination. Which is a good indicator that they take it very seriously,” says Josh Williams.

The possible issue of bacteria recently came to light after a local resident this past fall complained of ongoing severe intestinal sickness. She publicly complained this week, saying government officials aren’t doing enough to prevent it from happening again. Garfield County says the bacteria is naturally occurring, though also the leading cause of hospital infections. Aspen Public Radio is waiting for comment from the Glenwood Hot Springs.

Your Morning News - January 27th, 2015

Jan 27, 2015

Aspen Approves Molly Gibson Lodge Plans

Aspen City Council approved a proposal to redevelop the Molly Gibson Lodge, last night. That includes building two single-family homes on a vacant lot next door. The plan is to demolish the existing lodge and replace it with a new three-story structure. City Council member Art Daily echoed a general sentiment among officials.

“I think it’s really very important to our community, this reconstruction of the lodge. I like the balance. And the single family homes, I think that they actually fit the context of the neighborhood in which they’re being placed.”

The new lodge will have 68 rooms and one affordable housing unit.

Council members decided to wait until the coming months to review lodging proposals from downtown developer Mark Hunt. Hunt is proposing two affordable hotels, but some council members and residents have raised questions about whether they’re a good idea.

Those decisions Monday night came after a heated debate about how City Concil should respond to a proposed ballot initiative. The locally organized effort would strip power from Council and put it in the hands of voters for development that wouldn’t follow land use code. In response, council members decided to consider making some changes this Spring to Aspen’s land use code.

Highly Efficient "Innovation Center" Breaks Ground

Oct 15, 2014
Marci Krivonen

A second groundbreaking in Basalt this week marked the start of construction on Rocky Mountain Institute’s “Innovation Center.” The non profit is building a $15 million highly energy efficient building near the Roaring Fork River in Old Town. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen reports.

Marci Krivonen

CU-Boulder’s Leeds School of Business released a study last week tracking how much money the oil and gas industry has contributed to the Colorado economy. Researchers found billions of dollars were generated over a four-year period.

The study was commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute and looks at energy development in each county from 2008 to 2012. During that time, the energy industry generated more than $126 billion statewide, the analysis finds.

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.

Marci Krivonen

The U.S. Department of Agriculture chose a Gypsum biomass plant to participate in a federal energy program. Eagle Valley Clean Energy was one of 36 facilities nationwide chosen to be part of the Biomass Crop Assistance Program.

Hybrids to Hydrogen to Robots? Delivering the Future of Mobility Today

From Toyota's big bet on hydrogen fuel cell technology to the development of cars that drive themselves, connected vehicles and even robots, the world's largest automaker is delivering the future of mobility. Andrew Ross Sorkin and Toyota's Osamu Nagata will discuss what's in the works now and how we'll be getting around tomorrow.

Osamu Nagata, Andrew Ross Sorkin

Governor John Hickenlooper’s office said he’s still in discussions about whether to call lawmakers back to the state capitol for a special session on oil and gas issues. The goal would be to pass a compromise bill and avoid a fight at the ballot box.

Pitkin County To BLM: Cancel Thompson Divide Leases

May 14, 2014
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.

BLM Seeks Comments From Public On 65 Oil, Gas Leases

Apr 17, 2014
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.

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