<![CDATA[Colorado Springs Gazette RSS - environment]]> http://gazette.com/rss/environment Sat, 28 Mar 2015 03:26:38 -0600 Zend_Feed http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss <![CDATA[Colorado drilling plan has safeguards for Dinosaur Monument]]> The Associated Press http://gazette.com/colorado-drilling-plan-has-safeguards-for-dinosaur-monument/article/1548654?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/colorado-drilling-plan-has-safeguards-for-dinosaur-monument/article/1548654?custom_click=rss

DENVER — A new plan for oil and gas development on federal land in energy-rich northwestern Colorado includes stepped-up projections for areas near Dinosaur National Monument.

The plan released by the Bureau of Land Management Friday would also ease restrictions on what time of year drilling rigs can operate if well sites are consolidated to minimize environmental disruptions.

The BLM says the area could yield more than 7.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, enough to heat 7.5 million homes for 15 years. The agency reviewed potential impacts if more than 15,000 wells were drilled on 1,100 sites over 20 years.

The release of the plan triggers a 30-day period for public protests and a 60-day period for state



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DENVER — A new plan for oil and gas development on federal land in energy-rich northwestern Colorado includes stepped-up projections for areas near Dinosaur National Monument.

The plan released by the Bureau of Land Management Friday would also ease restrictions on what time of year drilling rigs can operate if well sites are consolidated to minimize environmental disruptions.

The BLM says the area could yield more than 7.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, enough to heat 7.5 million homes for 15 years. The agency reviewed potential impacts if more than 15,000 wells were drilled on 1,100 sites over 20 years.

The release of the plan triggers a 30-day period for public protests and a 60-day period for state

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Fri, 27 Mar 2015 17:29:10 -0600
<![CDATA[Free online course from CU-Boulder explores water issues in the West]]> Debbie Kelley http://gazette.com/free-online-course-from-cu-boulder-explores-water-issues-in-the-west/article/1548664?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/free-online-course-from-cu-boulder-explores-water-issues-in-the-west/article/1548664?custom_click=rss How has the scarcity of water in the West caused so much controversy? A free online course that begins Wednesday by experts at the University of Colorado in Boulder will answer that question and lead students on a virtual journey as water makes its way from snow-capped mountains to taps.

“Water in the Western United States” is CU-Boulder’s latest “massive open online course,” lasting four and a half weeks and allowing students to explore the scientific, legal, political and cultural issues impacting water and climate in the West.

The course does not require any previous knowledge.



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How has the scarcity of water in the West caused so much controversy? A free online course that begins Wednesday by experts at the University of Colorado in Boulder will answer that question and lead students on a virtual journey as water makes its way from snow-capped mountains to taps.

“Water in the Western United States” is CU-Boulder’s latest “massive open online course,” lasting four and a half weeks and allowing students to explore the scientific, legal, political and cultural issues impacting water and climate in the West.

The course does not require any previous knowledge.

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Fri, 27 Mar 2015 16:32:43 -0600
<![CDATA[Feds stand behind Wolf Creek land swap despite criticisms]]> The Associated Press http://gazette.com/feds-stand-behind-wolf-creek-land-swap-despite-criticisms/article/1548645?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/feds-stand-behind-wolf-creek-land-swap-despite-criticisms/article/1548645?custom_click=rss

DURANGO — The U.S. Forest Service is standing behind its decision to allow a land swap that would provide access to a proposed village near the Wolf Creek Ski Area in southwestern Colorado.

The agency announced Thursday that Deputy Regional Forester Maribeth Gustafson affirmed the decision, announced in November, following a review of objections from project opponents.

The fight isn't over yet though. The Durango Herald (http://bit.ly/19YyaOi) reports that environmental organizations have filed two federal lawsuits seeking Forest Service records related to the land swap.

It would give billionaire B.J. McCombs' development group about 200 acres of forest land, allowing it to build a road connecting the proposed



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DURANGO — The U.S. Forest Service is standing behind its decision to allow a land swap that would provide access to a proposed village near the Wolf Creek Ski Area in southwestern Colorado.

The agency announced Thursday that Deputy Regional Forester Maribeth Gustafson affirmed the decision, announced in November, following a review of objections from project opponents.

The fight isn't over yet though. The Durango Herald (http://bit.ly/19YyaOi) reports that environmental organizations have filed two federal lawsuits seeking Forest Service records related to the land swap.

It would give billionaire B.J. McCombs' development group about 200 acres of forest land, allowing it to build a road connecting the proposed

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Fri, 27 Mar 2015 14:18:49 -0600
<![CDATA[Flow boosted for Arkansas River]]> By Chris Woodka, The Pueblo Chieftain http://gazette.com/flow-boosted-for-arkansas-river/article/1548492?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/flow-boosted-for-arkansas-river/article/1548492?custom_click=rss

The Arkansas River is rumbling a little higher through Pueblo this week as water released from Pueblo Dam makes its way to John Martin Reservoir.

About 5,000 acre-feet (1.6 billion gallons) is being released under leases made by Colorado Springs Utilities and the Pueblo Board of Water Works.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is leasing 2,000 acre-feet from Utilities and 1,000 acre-feet from Pueblo Water to boost levels at John Martin State Park.



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The Arkansas River is rumbling a little higher through Pueblo this week as water released from Pueblo Dam makes its way to John Martin Reservoir.

About 5,000 acre-feet (1.6 billion gallons) is being released under leases made by Colorado Springs Utilities and the Pueblo Board of Water Works.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is leasing 2,000 acre-feet from Utilities and 1,000 acre-feet from Pueblo Water to boost levels at John Martin State Park.

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Tue, 24 Mar 2015 15:31:09 -0600
<![CDATA[From remote mountain snowpack to tap: Tracking Colorado Spring's water supply]]> By ryan maye handy ryanmaye.handy@gazette.com - http://gazette.com/from-remote-mountain-snowpack-to-tap-tracking-colorado-springs-water-supply/article/1548359?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/from-remote-mountain-snowpack-to-tap-tracking-colorado-springs-water-supply/article/1548359?custom_click=rss

WHITE RIVER NATIONAL FOREST

In mid-March, Dan Martin drove a snowcat 8 miles into the White River National Forest, headed for the place where Colorado Springs' water supply begins. The cat lumbered along a forest service road at 10 mph, a road that Martin has driven every winter for nearly 20 years. A barbed wire fence lines the road, its wires half submerged in months of snow.

"There's times when you can't see this barbed wire fence," Martin said. "To me, that's a great year."

Among other things, Martin measures snowpack for a living. But his time in Homestake Valley near Tennessee Pass has given him an extra snow sense. By barbed-wire fence standards, the water year for Colorado Springs is looking good.



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WHITE RIVER NATIONAL FOREST

In mid-March, Dan Martin drove a snowcat 8 miles into the White River National Forest, headed for the place where Colorado Springs' water supply begins. The cat lumbered along a forest service road at 10 mph, a road that Martin has driven every winter for nearly 20 years. A barbed wire fence lines the road, its wires half submerged in months of snow.

"There's times when you can't see this barbed wire fence," Martin said. "To me, that's a great year."

Among other things, Martin measures snowpack for a living. But his time in Homestake Valley near Tennessee Pass has given him an extra snow sense. By barbed-wire fence standards, the water year for Colorado Springs is looking good.

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Sun, 22 Mar 2015 07:24:55 -0600
<![CDATA[Kansas Legislature mulls slashing green energy incentives]]> http://gazette.com/kansas-legislature-mulls-slashing-green-energy-incentives/article/feed/216113?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/kansas-legislature-mulls-slashing-green-energy-incentives/article/feed/216113?custom_click=rss TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas renewable energy groups say that proposed tax increases would threaten the young industry's existence.

Two bills before the Kansas Legislature would remove tax incentives for renewable energy investments by shortening a lifetime property tax exemption for wind and solar farms and imposing a 4.33 percent excise tax on ethanol fuel and renewable electricity.

Ethanol producers say the tax could force plant closures and would have ripple effects in the agricultural sector.

But the state is facing a state budget shortfall of nearly $600 million in the fiscal year beginning July 1. Conservatives in the Legislature who have traditionally opposed tax increases now say that renewable energy is one se

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]]> TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas renewable energy groups say that proposed tax increases would threaten the young industry's existence.

Two bills before the Kansas Legislature would remove tax incentives for renewable energy investments by shortening a lifetime property tax exemption for wind and solar farms and imposing a 4.33 percent excise tax on ethanol fuel and renewable electricity.

Ethanol producers say the tax could force plant closures and would have ripple effects in the agricultural sector.

But the state is facing a state budget shortfall of nearly $600 million in the fiscal year beginning July 1. Conservatives in the Legislature who have traditionally opposed tax increases now say that renewable energy is one se]]> Sat, 21 Mar 2015 11:48:48 -0600 <![CDATA[Paris hit by air pollution spike, halves cars on roads]]> http://gazette.com/paris-hit-by-air-pollution-spike-halves-cars-on-roads/article/feed/216103?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/paris-hit-by-air-pollution-spike-halves-cars-on-roads/article/feed/216103?custom_click=rss PARIS (AP) — Paris will cut the number of cars on the road in half beginning Monday and is making public transit free to combat a spike in pollution that has obscured even the Eiffel Tower under a smoggy haze.

The mayor's office announced Saturday that only cars with odd-numbered plates will be permitted to drive Monday, as well as any electric or hybrid vehicles and any vehicles with more than three people. Public transit will be free, as will the electric car-sharing and bike sharing-programs

Pollution has spiked in the Paris region since Wednesday, when the city briefly had the world's dirtiest air, according to a monitoring company called Plume Labs.

Other cities in northern France affected by air pollution are al

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]]> PARIS (AP) — Paris will cut the number of cars on the road in half beginning Monday and is making public transit free to combat a spike in pollution that has obscured even the Eiffel Tower under a smoggy haze.

The mayor's office announced Saturday that only cars with odd-numbered plates will be permitted to drive Monday, as well as any electric or hybrid vehicles and any vehicles with more than three people. Public transit will be free, as will the electric car-sharing and bike sharing-programs

Pollution has spiked in the Paris region since Wednesday, when the city briefly had the world's dirtiest air, according to a monitoring company called Plume Labs.

Other cities in northern France affected by air pollution are al]]> Sat, 21 Mar 2015 11:00:50 -0600 <![CDATA[Colorado may end its unique ban on rain barrels]]> The Associated Press http://gazette.com/colorado-may-end-its-unique-ban-on-rain-barrels/article/1548327?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/colorado-may-end-its-unique-ban-on-rain-barrels/article/1548327?custom_click=rss

DENVER — Colorado's only-in-the-nation ban on backyard rain barrels is getting a new look from state lawmakers.

The state House gave preliminary approval Friday to a bill allowing homeowners to use up to two 55-gallon rain barrels. "This puts the water user in the mindframe of preservation," said one of the bill's sponsors, Rep. Jessie Danielson, D-Wheat Ridge.

Colorado's rain-barrel ban is little known and widely flouted, with rain barrels for sale at many home-gardening stores and commonly used by home gardeners. But the barrels technically violate Colorado water law, which says that people don't own the water that runs on or through their property. They can use the water, but they can't keep it.



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DENVER — Colorado's only-in-the-nation ban on backyard rain barrels is getting a new look from state lawmakers.

The state House gave preliminary approval Friday to a bill allowing homeowners to use up to two 55-gallon rain barrels. "This puts the water user in the mindframe of preservation," said one of the bill's sponsors, Rep. Jessie Danielson, D-Wheat Ridge.

Colorado's rain-barrel ban is little known and widely flouted, with rain barrels for sale at many home-gardening stores and commonly used by home gardeners. But the barrels technically violate Colorado water law, which says that people don't own the water that runs on or through their property. They can use the water, but they can't keep it.

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Fri, 20 Mar 2015 21:29:05 -0600
<![CDATA[Democrats reintroduce 'Frack Pack' oil and gas regulations]]> The Associated Press http://gazette.com/democrats-reintroduce-frack-pack-oil-and-gas-regulations/article/1548241?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/democrats-reintroduce-frack-pack-oil-and-gas-regulations/article/1548241?custom_click=rss CHEYENNE, Wyo. — A group of bills called the "Frack Pack" announced Thursday by four Democratic congressmen would impose more stringent federal environmental regulations on a domestic petroleum industry lately suffering from its own success amid a persistent downturn in oil prices.

The Western Energy Alliance petroleum industry group criticized the measures as unnecessary in part because they duplicate existing state regulations.

"All of these bills are based on false information about supposed gaps in state and federal regulations that are actually talking points from the environmental lobby, and not based on reality," the Denver-based group's vice president of government and public affairs, Kathleen Sgamma, said in



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CHEYENNE, Wyo. — A group of bills called the "Frack Pack" announced Thursday by four Democratic congressmen would impose more stringent federal environmental regulations on a domestic petroleum industry lately suffering from its own success amid a persistent downturn in oil prices.

The Western Energy Alliance petroleum industry group criticized the measures as unnecessary in part because they duplicate existing state regulations.

"All of these bills are based on false information about supposed gaps in state and federal regulations that are actually talking points from the environmental lobby, and not based on reality," the Denver-based group's vice president of government and public affairs, Kathleen Sgamma, said in

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Thu, 19 Mar 2015 19:12:15 -0600
<![CDATA[Officials celebrate milestone in construction of Southern Delivery System]]> BY JAKOB RODGERS jakob.rodgers@gazette.com - http://gazette.com/officials-celebrate-milestone-in-construction-of-southern-delivery-system/article/1548179?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/officials-celebrate-milestone-in-construction-of-southern-delivery-system/article/1548179?custom_click=rss

The last 50-foot pipe of the 50-mile-long Southern Delivery System arrived at a construction site Wednesday, marking a key milestone for the project as it nears completion next year both on time and under budget.

"We put to rest a lot of doubters that we'd get this done," said Lionel Rivera, Colorado Springs' former mayor, who helped approve the project.

With Kool & The Gang's "Celebration" playing in the background, a truck hauled the massive blue pipe to a site just south of Pikes Peak International Raceway. Crews will place it underground in the coming weeks, completing a system spanning from Pueblo Reservoir to a new water treatment facility in Colorado Springs, which is under construction.

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]]> The last 50-foot pipe of the 50-mile-long Southern Delivery System arrived at a construction site Wednesday, marking a key milestone for the project as it nears completion next year both on time and under budget.

"We put to rest a lot of doubters that we'd get this done," said Lionel Rivera, Colorado Springs' former mayor, who helped approve the project.

With Kool & The Gang's "Celebration" playing in the background, a truck hauled the massive blue pipe to a site just south of Pikes Peak International Raceway. Crews will place it underground in the coming weeks, completing a system spanning from Pueblo Reservoir to a new water treatment facility in Colorado Springs, which is under construction.]]> Thu, 19 Mar 2015 04:16:03 -0600 <![CDATA[Snowpack is declining in valleys where Colorado River begins]]> The Associated Press http://gazette.com/snowpack-is-declining-in-valleys-where-colorado-river-begins/article/1548121?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/snowpack-is-declining-in-valleys-where-colorado-river-begins/article/1548121?custom_click=rss

DENVER — Snowpack in the mountains and valleys where the Colorado River originates has been shrinking since the beginning of March, a federal water expert said Tuesday.

The snow ranged between 89 and 91 percent of the long-term average, depending on which measurement is used.

"We dried out relatively significantly here since the beginning of March," said Brian Domonkos, supervisor of the Colorado Snow Survey for the U.S. Agriculture Department.

Figures for the early March snow levels weren't immediately available.

Domonkos told the state task force on water availability that recent warm weather had begun to melt the snow at lower elevations in parts of the Colorado River basin.



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DENVER — Snowpack in the mountains and valleys where the Colorado River originates has been shrinking since the beginning of March, a federal water expert said Tuesday.

The snow ranged between 89 and 91 percent of the long-term average, depending on which measurement is used.

"We dried out relatively significantly here since the beginning of March," said Brian Domonkos, supervisor of the Colorado Snow Survey for the U.S. Agriculture Department.

Figures for the early March snow levels weren't immediately available.

Domonkos told the state task force on water availability that recent warm weather had begun to melt the snow at lower elevations in parts of the Colorado River basin.

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Tue, 17 Mar 2015 22:23:13 -0600
<![CDATA[El Paso County residents say they intend to seek injunction to halt wind farm construction]]> By Ryan Maye Handy ryanmaye.handy@gazette.com - http://gazette.com/el-paso-county-residents-say-they-intend-to-seek-injunction-to-halt-wind-farm-construction/article/1547687?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/el-paso-county-residents-say-they-intend-to-seek-injunction-to-halt-wind-farm-construction/article/1547687?custom_click=rss Eastern El Paso County residents say they intend to file for an injunction to try to halt the construction of a controversial wind farm project until their lawsuit is heard.

Nearly 200 angry and emotional residents filled the Falcon Fire Station on Tuesday evening to learn more about a lawsuit that their neighbors filed against the El Paso County commissioners over the wind farm project, which is owned by NextEra Energy Resources. Without an injunction, the lawsuit would not stop construction of the wind farm, the commissioners have said. Residents have been told that NextEra could begin construction April 1.



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Eastern El Paso County residents say they intend to file for an injunction to try to halt the construction of a controversial wind farm project until their lawsuit is heard.

Nearly 200 angry and emotional residents filled the Falcon Fire Station on Tuesday evening to learn more about a lawsuit that their neighbors filed against the El Paso County commissioners over the wind farm project, which is owned by NextEra Energy Resources. Without an injunction, the lawsuit would not stop construction of the wind farm, the commissioners have said. Residents have been told that NextEra could begin construction April 1.

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Wed, 11 Mar 2015 12:48:12 -0600
<![CDATA[Residents sue El Paso County commissioners over wind farm project]]> BY RYAN MAYE HANDY ryanmaye.handy@gazette.com - http://gazette.com/residents-sue-el-paso-county-commissioners-over-wind-farm-project/article/1547602?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/residents-sue-el-paso-county-commissioners-over-wind-farm-project/article/1547602?custom_click=rss

A group of disgruntled homeowners has filed a lawsuit against the El Paso County commissioners, alleging that the board abused its power when it approved an above-ground transmission line for a wind farm project last month.

The suit is another development in an ongoing effort by residents to block a wind farm project run by NextEra Energy Resources, which plans to raise at least 126 wind turbines over the plains near Calhan. Although the commissioners approved the plan in 2013, amendments to the project raised the ire of area residents who fear the wind farm and its accompanying above-ground power line will damage their property values and their health.



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A group of disgruntled homeowners has filed a lawsuit against the El Paso County commissioners, alleging that the board abused its power when it approved an above-ground transmission line for a wind farm project last month.

The suit is another development in an ongoing effort by residents to block a wind farm project run by NextEra Energy Resources, which plans to raise at least 126 wind turbines over the plains near Calhan. Although the commissioners approved the plan in 2013, amendments to the project raised the ire of area residents who fear the wind farm and its accompanying above-ground power line will damage their property values and their health.

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Tue, 10 Mar 2015 13:08:32 -0600
<![CDATA[Environmental issues top major legislative meeting in China]]> http://gazette.com/environmental-issues-top-major-legislative-meeting-in-china/article/feed/211584?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/environmental-issues-top-major-legislative-meeting-in-china/article/feed/211584?custom_click=rss

BEIJING (AP) — China's severe environmental problems and government pledges to fix them have dominated the start of the country's annual legislative meeting, as leaders try to ease public worries about air, water and soil contamination that threaten to derail the country's economic rise and cast doubts on the ruling Communist Party.

Two days into the session of the National People's Congress in a Beijing shrouded with smog, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged Friday to "punish, with an iron hand, any violators who destroy the ecology or environment, with no exceptions," according to China's official Xinhua News Agency. At the meeting's opening event on Thursday, Premier Li Keqiang swore the government would cut back on major pol

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]]> BEIJING (AP) — China's severe environmental problems and government pledges to fix them have dominated the start of the country's annual legislative meeting, as leaders try to ease public worries about air, water and soil contamination that threaten to derail the country's economic rise and cast doubts on the ruling Communist Party.

Two days into the session of the National People's Congress in a Beijing shrouded with smog, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged Friday to "punish, with an iron hand, any violators who destroy the ecology or environment, with no exceptions," according to China's official Xinhua News Agency. At the meeting's opening event on Thursday, Premier Li Keqiang swore the government would cut back on major pol]]> Sat, 07 Mar 2015 06:01:22 -0700 <![CDATA[Popular environmental documentary removed from China's Web]]> http://gazette.com/popular-environmental-documentary-removed-from-chinas-web/article/feed/211570?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/popular-environmental-documentary-removed-from-chinas-web/article/feed/211570?custom_click=rss BEIJING (AP) — A popular documentary about China's environmental woes that has been viewed hundreds of millions of times over the past week was removed from Chinese websites as the country's legislature holds its closely watched annual meeting.

The 104-minute film called "Under the Dome" could no longer be seen Saturday morning on popular Chinese video streaming sites. Website Hao123 showed an error message warning that the documentary did not pass the site's checks. The movie could still be seen on Hong Kong-based news site ifeng.com and YouTube.

Former state television news reporter Chai Jing stars in the professionally produced documentary and has said she produced the movie to dramatize the health and societal costs of

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]]> BEIJING (AP) — A popular documentary about China's environmental woes that has been viewed hundreds of millions of times over the past week was removed from Chinese websites as the country's legislature holds its closely watched annual meeting.

The 104-minute film called "Under the Dome" could no longer be seen Saturday morning on popular Chinese video streaming sites. Website Hao123 showed an error message warning that the documentary did not pass the site's checks. The movie could still be seen on Hong Kong-based news site ifeng.com and YouTube.

Former state television news reporter Chai Jing stars in the professionally produced documentary and has said she produced the movie to dramatize the health and societal costs of ]]> Sat, 07 Mar 2015 00:31:56 -0700