<![CDATA[Colorado Springs Gazette RSS - environment]]> http://gazette.com/rss/environment Sat, 31 Jan 2015 04:42:33 -0700 Zend_Feed http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss <![CDATA[Most of Hawaii's coral recover from mass bleaching]]> http://gazette.com/most-of-hawaiis-coral-recover-from-mass-bleaching/article/feed/199988?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/most-of-hawaiis-coral-recover-from-mass-bleaching/article/feed/199988?custom_click=rss

HONOLULU (AP) — Coral rely on algae for food and their survival.

So when the stress of warmer-than-average ocean temperatures prompted many of Hawaii's corals to expel algae last year — a phenomenon called bleaching because coral lose their color when they do this — many were worried they might die.

Now the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, which released its latest coral survey results on Thursday, says most of the bleached corals have recovered.

Even so, scientists say the experience weakened the coral, making them more likely to get sick. It's also going to be harder for them to withstand warm temperatures in the future.

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]]> HONOLULU (AP) — Coral rely on algae for food and their survival.

So when the stress of warmer-than-average ocean temperatures prompted many of Hawaii's corals to expel algae last year — a phenomenon called bleaching because coral lose their color when they do this — many were worried they might die.

Now the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, which released its latest coral survey results on Thursday, says most of the bleached corals have recovered.

Even so, scientists say the experience weakened the coral, making them more likely to get sick. It's also going to be harder for them to withstand warm temperatures in the future.]]> Thu, 29 Jan 2015 21:17:01 -0700 <![CDATA[Regulators issue final volumes in Nevada nuclear dump report]]> http://gazette.com/regulators-issue-final-volumes-in-nevada-nuclear-dump-report/article/feed/200355?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/regulators-issue-final-volumes-in-nevada-nuclear-dump-report/article/feed/200355?custom_click=rss LAS VEGAS (AP) — Findings released Thursday by analysts in the federal agency with the power to give the go-ahead for a proposed national nuclear waste dump in Nevada appear to provide wiggle room for adopting rules to open the repository, if decision-makers want to go forward.

"Conditions (to open the repository) could be included," Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff said, "if there is a commission decision to authorize construction."

But the federal Department of Energy still needs to acquire crucial land and water rights, it said.

Opponents and proponents of the Yucca Mountain project each found support for their positions in the release of the final two volumes of a five-volume report by commission staff.

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]]> LAS VEGAS (AP) — Findings released Thursday by analysts in the federal agency with the power to give the go-ahead for a proposed national nuclear waste dump in Nevada appear to provide wiggle room for adopting rules to open the repository, if decision-makers want to go forward.

"Conditions (to open the repository) could be included," Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff said, "if there is a commission decision to authorize construction."

But the federal Department of Energy still needs to acquire crucial land and water rights, it said.

Opponents and proponents of the Yucca Mountain project each found support for their positions in the release of the final two volumes of a five-volume report by commission staff.]]> Thu, 29 Jan 2015 20:32:53 -0700 <![CDATA[Senate passes bill approving Keystone XL oil pipeline]]> Associated Press http://gazette.com/senate-passes-bill-approving-keystone-xl-oil-pipeline/article/1545442?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/senate-passes-bill-approving-keystone-xl-oil-pipeline/article/1545442?custom_click=rss

WASHINGTON — The Republican-controlled Senate on Thursday approved a bipartisan bill to construct the Keystone XL oil pipeline, defying a presidential veto threat and setting up the first of many battles with the White House over energy and the environment.

The 62-36 vote advanced a top priority of the newly empowered GOP, and marked the first time the Senate passed a bill authorizing the pipeline, despite numerous attempts to force President Barack Obama's hand on the issue. Nine Democrats joined with 53 Republicans to back the measure.

Still the vote was short of the threshold needed to override a veto, and the legislation still must be reconciled with the version the House passed.



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WASHINGTON — The Republican-controlled Senate on Thursday approved a bipartisan bill to construct the Keystone XL oil pipeline, defying a presidential veto threat and setting up the first of many battles with the White House over energy and the environment.

The 62-36 vote advanced a top priority of the newly empowered GOP, and marked the first time the Senate passed a bill authorizing the pipeline, despite numerous attempts to force President Barack Obama's hand on the issue. Nine Democrats joined with 53 Republicans to back the measure.

Still the vote was short of the threshold needed to override a veto, and the legislation still must be reconciled with the version the House passed.

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Thu, 29 Jan 2015 15:15:52 -0700
<![CDATA[Solar power firm to develop 5 'garden' projects, including one in Colorado Springs]]> By Steve Raabe, The Denver Post - http://gazette.com/solar-power-firm-to-develop-5-garden-projects-including-one-in-colorado-springs/article/1545373?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/solar-power-firm-to-develop-5-garden-projects-including-one-in-colorado-springs/article/1545373?custom_click=rss

Denver-based solar power firm SunShare is looking at brighter prospects with a big financial boost from utility powerhouse NRG Energy.

On Wednesday, the companies announced a deal enabling SunShare to grow its community solar portfolio about eightfold.

Under the transaction, Scottsdale, Ariz.-based NRG Renew, a subsidiary of NRG Energy, will finance the 
$25 million development of five new "solar garden" projects: four in the metro Denver area and a 2-megawatt one in Colorado Springs.

In exchange, NRG will receive what SunShare describes as a "significant" equity position in the projects. The transaction is the second in recent weeks in which a major renewable-energy firm has invested in Colorado solar. Tempe,



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Denver-based solar power firm SunShare is looking at brighter prospects with a big financial boost from utility powerhouse NRG Energy.

On Wednesday, the companies announced a deal enabling SunShare to grow its community solar portfolio about eightfold.

Under the transaction, Scottsdale, Ariz.-based NRG Renew, a subsidiary of NRG Energy, will finance the 
$25 million development of five new "solar garden" projects: four in the metro Denver area and a 2-megawatt one in Colorado Springs.

In exchange, NRG will receive what SunShare describes as a "significant" equity position in the projects. The transaction is the second in recent weeks in which a major renewable-energy firm has invested in Colorado solar. Tempe,

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Thu, 29 Jan 2015 05:46:44 -0700
<![CDATA[How much impact does oil and gas tax revenue have on the Colorado Springs area?]]> BY RYAN MAYE HANDY ryanmaye.handy@gazette.com - http://gazette.com/how-much-impact-does-oil-and-gas-tax-revenue-have-on-the-colorado-springs-area/article/1545287?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/how-much-impact-does-oil-and-gas-tax-revenue-have-on-the-colorado-springs-area/article/1545287?custom_click=rss Every year, El Paso County gets a couple of hundred thousand in tax dollars from oil and gas and mineral extraction - which might seem odd, since the county has very little of either.

But thanks to annual state severance tax and federal mineral leases, slivers of municipal budgets all over El Paso County come from energy operators, few though they may be in an area with a smattering of oil wells and no active coal mining permits.

In 2014, El Paso County got $104,103.49 in severance taxes, which was distributed to nine local governments for the 2015 fiscal year, according to records released Monday by the Colorado Department of Local Affairs. Within the county, the city of Colorado Springs got the most - $57,003.



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Every year, El Paso County gets a couple of hundred thousand in tax dollars from oil and gas and mineral extraction - which might seem odd, since the county has very little of either.

But thanks to annual state severance tax and federal mineral leases, slivers of municipal budgets all over El Paso County come from energy operators, few though they may be in an area with a smattering of oil wells and no active coal mining permits.

In 2014, El Paso County got $104,103.49 in severance taxes, which was distributed to nine local governments for the 2015 fiscal year, according to records released Monday by the Colorado Department of Local Affairs. Within the county, the city of Colorado Springs got the most - $57,003.

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Tue, 27 Jan 2015 05:40:08 -0700
<![CDATA[Earthship village will soon land in Colorado Springs]]> BY KASSONDRA CLOOS kassondra.cloos@gazette.com - http://gazette.com/earthship-village-will-soon-land-in-colorado-springs/article/1545182?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/earthship-village-will-soon-land-in-colorado-springs/article/1545182?custom_click=rss

Earthships aren't designed to take families out of this world to explore other galaxies. But they are taking off on this planet and will soon land in Colorado Springs.

The Colorado Solar Village is seeking the greenest of the green to form a community of some of the most sustainable homes in existence, Earthships included. The goal, according to developer Dave Hatch, is for the roughly 65-home community to be fully self-reliant for energy.

Hatch is so sold on the idea, he's offering a free electric car to the first eight buyers to commit.

"Our goal, really, is to bring sustainable housing to everyone in an affordable way," Hatch said recently.



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Earthships aren't designed to take families out of this world to explore other galaxies. But they are taking off on this planet and will soon land in Colorado Springs.

The Colorado Solar Village is seeking the greenest of the green to form a community of some of the most sustainable homes in existence, Earthships included. The goal, according to developer Dave Hatch, is for the roughly 65-home community to be fully self-reliant for energy.

Hatch is so sold on the idea, he's offering a free electric car to the first eight buyers to commit.

"Our goal, really, is to bring sustainable housing to everyone in an affordable way," Hatch said recently.

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Sun, 25 Jan 2015 08:37:43 -0700
<![CDATA[Colorado snowpack struggling in some river basins]]> Associated Press http://gazette.com/colorado-snowpack-struggling-in-some-river-basins/article/1545175?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/colorado-snowpack-struggling-in-some-river-basins/article/1545175?custom_click=rss DENVER — The latest numbers for statewide snowpack show northwest and southwest Colorado are running behind where they should be for this time of year.

Some of the driest conditions can be found in the Upper Rio Grande and the San Juan-Dolores-San Miguel-Animas river basins.

According to KCNC-TV (http://tinyurl.com/o68yp9t), the South Platte River Basin, which includes Denver and much of the Interstate 25 urban corridor, is doing the best so far this year with near-normal snowfall totals.

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Information from: KCNC-TV, http://www.cbsdenver.



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DENVER — The latest numbers for statewide snowpack show northwest and southwest Colorado are running behind where they should be for this time of year.

Some of the driest conditions can be found in the Upper Rio Grande and the San Juan-Dolores-San Miguel-Animas river basins.

According to KCNC-TV (http://tinyurl.com/o68yp9t), the South Platte River Basin, which includes Denver and much of the Interstate 25 urban corridor, is doing the best so far this year with near-normal snowfall totals.

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Information from: KCNC-TV, http://www.cbsdenver.

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Sat, 24 Jan 2015 14:44:05 -0700
<![CDATA[Colorado lawmakers gear up for battle over fracking]]> By Ivan Moreno, Associated Press http://gazette.com/colorado-lawmakers-gear-up-for-battle-over-fracking/article/1545127?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/colorado-lawmakers-gear-up-for-battle-over-fracking/article/1545127?custom_click=rss DENVER — Colorado Republicans are proposing to compensate mineral owners when a local government bans or restricts fracking.

The GOP's approach has bothered Democrats who argue lawmakers should wait for recommendations from a task force studying how to resolve land-use disputes among homeowners, local governments, and energy companies.

Regulations over fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, are expected to be one of the most divisive issues state lawmakers take up this year.

Recommendations from the task force are due in late February. But Republicans already have two pending proposals to counter any fracking restrictions.

A bill in the House would require local governments that ban fracking to compensate



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DENVER — Colorado Republicans are proposing to compensate mineral owners when a local government bans or restricts fracking.

The GOP's approach has bothered Democrats who argue lawmakers should wait for recommendations from a task force studying how to resolve land-use disputes among homeowners, local governments, and energy companies.

Regulations over fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, are expected to be one of the most divisive issues state lawmakers take up this year.

Recommendations from the task force are due in late February. But Republicans already have two pending proposals to counter any fracking restrictions.

A bill in the House would require local governments that ban fracking to compensate

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Fri, 23 Jan 2015 14:52:31 -0700
<![CDATA[Colorado Springs improves flood insurance score]]> By MONICA MENDOZA monica.mendoza@gazette.com - http://gazette.com/colorado-springs-improves-flood-insurance-score/article/1545079?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/colorado-springs-improves-flood-insurance-score/article/1545079?custom_click=rss The city of Colorado Springs improved its score in the National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System, which results in a reduction in flood insurance premiums for residents by 20 percent, NFIP officials said Thursday. The Federal Emergency Management Agency recognized the city for its work in recent years to reduce the flood risk. The city improved its NFIP Community Rating System from a Class 7 to a Class 6, said Mathew Buddie NFIP specialist. The NFIP is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes communities that exceed the minimum requirements. Ratings are on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the best. Points are awarded for engaging in public information, mapping and regulations flood damage reduction and flood



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The city of Colorado Springs improved its score in the National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System, which results in a reduction in flood insurance premiums for residents by 20 percent, NFIP officials said Thursday. The Federal Emergency Management Agency recognized the city for its work in recent years to reduce the flood risk. The city improved its NFIP Community Rating System from a Class 7 to a Class 6, said Mathew Buddie NFIP specialist. The NFIP is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes communities that exceed the minimum requirements. Ratings are on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the best. Points are awarded for engaging in public information, mapping and regulations flood damage reduction and flood

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Thu, 22 Jan 2015 18:22:32 -0700
<![CDATA[Residents come together in plea to fill Palmer Lake]]> By RYAN MAYE HANDY ryanmaye.handy@gazette.com - http://gazette.com/residents-come-together-in-plea-to-fill-palmer-lake/article/1544953?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/residents-come-together-in-plea-to-fill-palmer-lake/article/1544953?custom_click=rss The towns of Palmer Lake and Monument are in a gridlock over 21.8 million gallons of water, a bitter debate that could pit the towns against each other in court.

Palmer Lake residents, desperate to use the water to save their dry lake, thronged Monument's Tuesday evening board of trustees meeting to plead for water.

Palmer Lake has been grappling with the state and other southern Colorado water districts since December 2013, when it asked to convert an old railroad water right into something that could save the lake.

The railroad water right has gone unused since the late 1950s, when Colorado's railroads stopped running steam engines.



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The towns of Palmer Lake and Monument are in a gridlock over 21.8 million gallons of water, a bitter debate that could pit the towns against each other in court.

Palmer Lake residents, desperate to use the water to save their dry lake, thronged Monument's Tuesday evening board of trustees meeting to plead for water.

Palmer Lake has been grappling with the state and other southern Colorado water districts since December 2013, when it asked to convert an old railroad water right into something that could save the lake.

The railroad water right has gone unused since the late 1950s, when Colorado's railroads stopped running steam engines.

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Wed, 21 Jan 2015 12:24:51 -0700
<![CDATA[USGS: Earthquake near Fountain 'wasn't real']]> BY JAKOB RODGERS AND 
NEWS SERVICES jakob.rodgers@gazette.com - http://gazette.com/usgs-earthquake-near-fountain-wasnt-real/article/1544874?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/usgs-earthquake-near-fountain-wasnt-real/article/1544874?custom_click=rss

The U.S. Geological Survey says a magnitude-3.0 earthquake reported early Monday near Fountain didn't actually happen.

"It turns out that wasn't real," said Don Blakeman, a geophysicist at the USGS National Earthquake Information Center in Golden.

He said the earthquake report was the result of a faulty sensor and a newer geologic analyst.

"Sometimes the computer (messes up) and he didn't recognize that," Blakeman said.

The USGS said the sensor was likely triggered by a series of temblors in south-central Kansas and north-central Oklahoma.

The USGS initially reported that a 3.0-magnitude quake was centered 12 miles southeast of Fountain.

Although quakes rock southern Colorado, most are minor and do not

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]]> The U.S. Geological Survey says a magnitude-3.0 earthquake reported early Monday near Fountain didn't actually happen.

"It turns out that wasn't real," said Don Blakeman, a geophysicist at the USGS National Earthquake Information Center in Golden.

He said the earthquake report was the result of a faulty sensor and a newer geologic analyst.

"Sometimes the computer (messes up) and he didn't recognize that," Blakeman said.

The USGS said the sensor was likely triggered by a series of temblors in south-central Kansas and north-central Oklahoma.

The USGS initially reported that a 3.0-magnitude quake was centered 12 miles southeast of Fountain.

Although quakes rock southern Colorado, most are minor and do not]]> Tue, 20 Jan 2015 04:10:09 -0700 <![CDATA[Regulator: Colorado short on oil, gas well inspectors]]> By Dan Elliott, Associated Press http://gazette.com/regulator-colorado-short-on-oil-gas-well-inspectors/article/1544679?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/regulator-colorado-short-on-oil-gas-well-inspectors/article/1544679?custom_click=rss GREELEY — Colorado has nearly 2,000 active oil and gas wells for every inspector and would need to add one inspector a year to keep up with recent trends, the state's top energy industry regulator said Thursday.

Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Director Matt Lepore provided the statistics in response to questions from Gov. John Hickenlooper's task force on how the oil and gas industry is regulated. The panel was meeting in Greeley.

Lepore said later that about 1,800 new wells have been drilled in Colorado every year over the past five to seven years, but falling oil prices could slow that rate and change the number of additional inspectors needed.



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GREELEY — Colorado has nearly 2,000 active oil and gas wells for every inspector and would need to add one inspector a year to keep up with recent trends, the state's top energy industry regulator said Thursday.

Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Director Matt Lepore provided the statistics in response to questions from Gov. John Hickenlooper's task force on how the oil and gas industry is regulated. The panel was meeting in Greeley.

Lepore said later that about 1,800 new wells have been drilled in Colorado every year over the past five to seven years, but falling oil prices could slow that rate and change the number of additional inspectors needed.

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Thu, 15 Jan 2015 16:42:34 -0700