NORTHWEST COLORADO NEWS AND SPORTS FOR FRIDAY, APRIL 12TH

CMEDP WRITES LETTER OPPOSING RENEWABLE ENERGY BILL

The Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership has written a letter to state lawmakers, urging them to oppose Senate Bill 13-252, the legislation that increases the renewable energy standard for rural providers by 150%.  The standard is now 10%, but the bill would raise that standard to 25% by 2020.  The CMEDP says they’re opposition is based on their vision of keeping business costs reasonable for existing businesses, or those considering locating in Moffat County.  They and other local officials say the cost of the conversion, which is estimated at $2 billion, and the fact that hydro power is not an acceptable form of renewable energy, makes the endeavor impossible.  The end result would be significantly higher energy prices for rural electric customers.  The letter was sent to Senator randy Baumgardner, Representative Bob Rankin, and Representative Diane Mitsch-bush.

 

TIPTON’S FOREST HEALTH BILL CLEARS HOUSE COMMITTEE

Representative Scott Tipton’s legislation to allow greater state and local involvement in proactive wildfire prevention on federal lands cleared the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation yesterday. The Healthy Forest Management and Wildfire Prevention Act is supported by many Colorado counties and the National Association of Counties, as well as state and national environmental organizations and conservation districts.  U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, in response to Tipton’s questions, acknowledged that more needs to be done to proactively manage forests rather than continuing to have to spend exponentially greater resources on suppression and wildfire cleanup efforts once it’s too late.  Tidwell cited budget constraints and employee reductions as one of the challenges facing the Forest Service in this regard.  Tipton challenged Tidwell on this point asking why the forest service was spending money on further land acquisition given budget constraints, instead of prioritizing funds for forest management. The Forest Service is requesting nearly $60 million next year for the acquisition of new lands.  Tipton’s bill would streamline hazardous fuels reduction projects and make up-front investments in forest health, so that fewer taxpayer dollars will be spent fighting fires later on.  It carries no cost to tax payers and places no requirement on state and local officials to act, providing Governors and County Commissioners with the ability to designate high-risk areas and develop emergency hazardous fuels reduction projects on federal lands.

 

BAUMGARDNER’S WATER RIGHTS BILL PASSES SENATE COMMITTEE

Yesterday, House Joint Resolution 13-1004, sponsored by Senator Randy Baumgardner, unanimously passed the Senate Agriculture, Livestock & Natural Resources Committee. The resolution calls on the U.S. Forest Service to rescind the directive that radically changes how businesses and other parties use special use permits in Colorado.  Baumgardner says the federal government needs to get the message that Coloradans oppose a policy that revokes the legitimately acquired water rights of our ranchers, farmers, ski areas, communities and business owners.  He said the further expansion of government tramples on our property rights and sovereignty and must be stopped.  The Forest Service issued the directive in 2012 that said when a lease terminates, all water rights revert to the federal government and the lessee has no right to reapply for the permit or receive compensation for bearing the cost of developing the water rights.  The resolution passed the House of Representatives with 35 bipartisan cosponsors and now goes to the Senate floor for consideration.

COMMUNITY HEALTH FAIR IN CRAIG IS APRIL 20TH

Pre-registration is underway for the Community Health Fair that will take place at The Memorial Hospital at Craig April 20th.  The Community Health Fair is being sponsored by The Memorial Hospital and the Craig Lions Club.  There will be health screenings, presentations, booth activities, and healthy snacks.  There may be some cost associated with some of the screenings.  The event runs from 7:30 to 1 April 20th at the hospital.  If you would like more information click here.

POLL SHOWS PEOPLE FEEL SOCIAL PROGRAMS ARE BEING MISUSED

87% of those responding to a KRAI.com poll over the last few months say they know of someone who is taking unfair advantage of government social programs. Social issues are a battleground in partisan politics these days, with liberals vying for more help for the needy, and conservatives saying “enough is enough”. Conservatives maintain that the federal government is enabling slackers to live off of social programs by expanding or adding to them. Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall and Representative Scott Tipton were all asked to comment on the poll’s numbers, but none have replied. The poll is completely anonymous, and will stay up through the weekend. If you want to report unlawful use of social programs, you can do so by calling your local Social Services Department.

 

OIL AND GAS DEBATE CONTINUES IN STATE LEGISLATURE

The oil and gas push by Colorado’s Democratic Legislature pressed on yesterday, with Democratic lawmakers pushing new limits on the state’s most powerful industry.  Results were mixed for Democrats seeking to curb energy companies and assure the public that new drilling procedures are safe.  A House committee voted in favor of a bill to add fees to oil and gas companies to pay for additional local drill inspectors. But the same committee rejected a bill to study of whether Front Range drilling operations can harm human health.  The bills are the latest push by ruling Democrats to put additional oversight on an industry to which the state Legislature has historically deferred.

 

STATE CONSIDERING CREATING ITS OWN FIREFIGHTING FLEET

Last year’s devastating fire season is prompting Colorado lawmakers to think about establishing a state firefighting fleet to supplement a fleet managed by the federal government.  Under a proposed measure, a new division would have the power to buy or lease firefighting aircraft.  The bill passed one Senate committee yesterday and now heads to another.  Last year, two people died in the Waldo Canyon Fire, which burned 346 homes and 28 square miles in Colorado Springs, and one died in the High Park Fire, which destroyed 136 square miles and 259 homes west of Fort Collins. The Lower North Fork Fire left three people dead.

 

STEAMBOAT NAMED A TREE CITY USA FOR 22ND YEAR

Steamboat has been named a Tree City USA community by the Arbor Day Foundation to honor its commitment to community forestry. It is the 22nd year Steamboat has received the national recognition.  The city has met the four standards to become a Tree City USA community including having a tree board or department, a tree care ordinance, a community forestry program with annual expenditures of at least $2 per capita, and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.  The Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit conservation and education organization of one million members, with the mission to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees.

 

HOUSE APPROVES EXPANDING DNA COLLECTION RULES

An expansion of DNA collection for people convicted of some misdemeanors in Colorado got initial approval in a House committee despite concerns from lawmakers.  The bill passed the House Judiciary Committee yesterday on a 9-2 vote after several lawmakers expressed misgivings. They indicated their votes could change later.  Democratic Representative Dan Pabon, the bill sponsor, argued the bill would solve cold cases and prevent crime. He equated the science as the fingerprints of the 21st century.  Opponents of the bill raised privacy concerns.  Colorado ACLU policy director Denise Maes says she was “dumbfounded” that Pabon would equate DNA to fingerprints because DNA contains more identifying information.  Pabon’s bill would apply only in criminal misdemeanors, like some assaults or theft.  Most states, including Colorado, already collect DNA for felony charges.

In high school sports:
Yesterday:

In girls soccer:
Steamboat tied Battle Mountain (2-2).
Moffat County beat Basalt (3-0).
Rangely lost to Coal Ridge (10-0).

Today:
In baseball:
Meeker goes to Fruita Monument for a double header.

In girls soccer:
Moffat County is on the road to Rifle at 4.

In boys lacrosse:
Steamboat hosts Glenwood at 4.

In girls lacrosse:
Steamboat goes to Grand Junction at 4.

In track:
Hayden, Soroco, Rangely and Meeker go to Coal Ridge at 1.
Moffat County runs at Grand Junction Central at noon.

In girls tennis:
Steamboat travels to Evergreen at 3:30.

In boys swimming:
Moffat County goes to Montrose at 5.

Tomorrow:
In baseball:
Meeker hosts a double header with Rangely.
Steamboat is home for a double header with Palisade.  The first game starts at 2.
Moffat County hosts a double header with Cedaredge, with the first game starting at 11.

In girls soccer:
Steamboat hosts Wheat Ridge at noon.
Moffat County hosts Coal Ridge at 11.

In boys lacrosse:
Steamboat welcomes Valor Christian at 3.

In girls lacrosse:
Steamboat goes to Fruita Monument at 10.

In track:
Hayden, Steamboat, Rangely, Soroco and Meeker go to Glenwood at 9.
Little Snake River Valley goes to the Tiger Invite in Rock Springs at 9.

In boys swimming:
Moffat County goes to Montrose at 9:30.

In girls tennis:
Steamboat is on the road to Ralston Valley at 10.