Aspen Times 5/15/2013
Excerpt: “The oil-and-gas industry is claiming that closures of land and increased regulations contemplated in the White River National Forest will make drilling “uncompetitive.”
Five organizations affiliated with the gas industry submitted comments last winter to the Forest Service as part of the agency’s effort to rewrite rules of where drilling will be allowed and under what circumstances. The federal agency is overhauling an outdated plan from 1993. …”
Read entire story at http://www.aspentimes.com/news/6522733-113/gas-forest-oil-service
Summit County Voice 5/9/2013
Excerpt: “SUMMIT COUNTY — Conservation groups say U.S. Forest Service officials made an arbitrary and capricious decision when they replaced a widespread cave and mine closure with a weaker rule that could lead to the introduction of a deadly bat disease in the Rocky Mountain region.
In its appeal, the Center for Biological Diversity said that required decontamination procedures are questionable at best under field conditions, and that mandatory closures of caves when white-nose syndrome is detected within 250 miles doesn’t go far enough to protect bats. …”
Read entire article at http://summitcountyvoice.com/2013/05/09/new-forest-service-cave-policy-faces-a-challenge/
Summit County Voice 5/8/2013
Excerpt: “FRISCO — Conservation advocates are challenging a decision by the Bureau of Land Management to extend the life of several oil and gas leases in the Thompson Divide area of Colorado’s White River National Forest.
The leases have been unused for 10 years and were illegally sold to begin with, according to Earthjustice, which is filing the administrative appeal on behalf of Wilderness Workshop. …”
Read entire article at http://summitcountyvoice.com/2013/05/08/colorado-conservation-group-challenges-blm-decision-to-suspend-thompson-divide-oil-and-gas-leases/
Colorado Springs Gazette 5/7/2013
Excerpt: “The U.S. Forest Service on Monday announced a much-anticipated plan to field the ‘next generation ‘ of large air tankers – a move that could modernize and nearly double the nation’s dwindling fleet of large slurry-dropping planes.
Serious questions remain, however, on when those planes would take to the sky. Hours after the agency announced plans to award $158 million in contracts for seven tankers over five years, at least one business threatened to appeal the move. ….”
Read entire article at http://gazette.com/forest-service-announces-plans-for-new-fleet-of-firefighting-air-tankers/article/1500371
Summit County Voice 5/2/2013
Excerpt: “FRISCO — The White River National Forest is well-known for its many ski areas and stunning high-elevation wilderness areas, but the forest is also a Rocky Mountain stronghold for bats. And with a deadly disease poised to move into the region, resource managers are taking steps to try and protect the flying mammals with a new cave access policy.
Based on a regional study completed a few weeks ago, WRNF supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams has decided to keep several caves with biologically significant populations closed all year, and other caves may be closed seasonally. Year-round closures are to be enacted on ranger districts if white-nose syndrome is documented within 250 miles. The regional policy and supporting documents are online at this Forest Service website. …”
Read entire story at http://summitcountyvoice.com/2013/05/02/colorado-forest-service-finalizes-plan-to-protect-bats/
Summit County Voice 4/27/2013
Excerpt: “FRISCO — Colorado lawmakers in Washington, D.C. are reaching across party lines to try and protect more than 100,000 acres of the Hermosa Creek watershed north of Durango.
U.S. Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Rep. Scott Tipton(R-CO) are introducing companion bills that would establish management for the Hermosa Creek Watershed based on recommendations from the Hermosa Creek River Protection Workgroup. The panel includes local water officials, conservationists, sportsmen, mountain bikers, off-road-vehicle users, outfitters, property owners, grazing permit holders and other interested citizens. …”
Read entire article at http://summitcountyvoice.com/2013/04/27/colorado-hermosa-creek-conservation-bill-gets-a-bipartisan-introduction-in-congress/
Colorado Springs Gazette 4/28/2013
Excerpt: “Forty-eight percent of the time that firefighters asked for air tanker support in their fight against wildfires across the United States last year, they didn’t come. Those numbers included requests for the 11 large aerial tankers — and this year there are only eight of those.
As temperatures rise and the threat of wildfires nears, firefighters and experts are concerned that the nation’s stock of large firefighting tankers is insufficient to keep smaller fires from burgeoning into megafires. …”
Read entire story at http://www.gazette.com/articles/tanker-154070-firefighters-air.html
Aspen Times 4/23/2013
Excerpt: “The last mining company remaining in Pitkin County has sued the U.S. Forest Service to try to earn a court order allowing it to operate year-round.
Elbram Stone LLC filed a lawsuit earlier this month in federal court in Denver contending that Forest Service officials on the local and regional levels have “unlawfully withheld approval” of Elbram’s plan of operation to mine alabaster and marble from mining claims along Avalanche Creek, approximately five miles north of Redstone. The delay is a violation of the U.S. Mining Law of 1872 and other federal regulations, the lawsuit alleged. The mining company wants a judge to rule that Elbram’s plan must be approved within the next 30 days. ….”
Read entire article at http://www.aspentimes.com/article/20130423/NEWS/130429957/1077%26ParentProfile=1058
Summit County Voice 4/18/2013
Excerpt: “SUMMIT COUNTY — Federal land managers could get wider authority for more backcountry logging under a new bill introduced in the U.S. Senate by three western senators: Mark Udall (D-CO), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Max Baucus (D-MT).
The National Forest Insect and Disease Treatment Act is being pitched as a way to help Forest Service treat insect and disease epidemics and promote overall forest health. As drafted, it directs the agency to treat threatened watersheds while prioritizing preservation of old-growth and large trees when possible. …”
Read entire article at http://summitcountyvoice.com/2013/04/18/environment-can-forest-health-be-legislated/
Aspen Times 4/16/2013
Excerpt: “ASPEN — The White River National Forest surrounding Aspen faces some budget uncertainties that could affect such seasonal duties as maintaining trails and patrolling the wilderness, according to Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams.
As funding stands now, the White River will lose “somewhere in the neighborhood of $3 million” in funding compared with last year, Fitzwilliams said. The funding for 19 national forests is decided by the Rocky Mountain Region headquarters in Lakewood. …”
Read entire article at http://www.aspentimes.com/article/20130415/NEWS/130419902/1001&parentprofile=1001