INTERIOR DEPARTMENT PROPOSES BLUEWAYS DESIGNATION
The Interior Department is introducing a new way to protect watersheds in the U.S. The department will soon let groups nominate waterways for Blueways designation. The designation would be stating that the waterway has national recognition and prestige, has marketing value and recognition tools offered by federal and partner organizations, has a memorandum of understanding and cooperative agreements among federal agencies and commitments of support from public and private partners, and has opportunities for federal technical and monetary assistance to achieve partnership goals. And according to the Interior Department, those statements are all the designation would mean. They say there are no strings attached and the designation does not guarantee any sort of protection. However, local officials are skeptical. They say environmental groups would use the designation as a factor in any lawsuit blocking oil and gas development. Moffat County officials are working to include a requirement that local elected officials sign off on the designation.
EPA DOESN’T TAKE CLUB 20 SERIOUSLY
When Club 20 held their Spring Meetings earlier this year, an invitation to the Environmental Protection Agency was ignored, so Club 20 members decided to take their concerns to Washington. The club submitted a list of questions prior to the meeting and was told they’d be meeting with the agency’s director. By the time the group got to Washington, that meeting ended up being with a low level employee, and 7 staff members, none of which had answers to Club 20′s questions. Club 20 members Ray Beck and Jeff Comstock relayed that story to the Moffat County Commissioners yesterday. They expressed their exasperation over the fact that the EPA staff hadn’t even read their pre-submitted questions. Beck and Comstock said they received no answers from the EPA in regards to issues concerning Moffat County or the Western Slope.
HICKENLOOPER DISCUSSES SB252 WITH TRISTATE OFFICIALS
Governor John Hickenlooper met with Tri-State representatives yesterday to discuss Senate Bill 252, which would require rural electricity cooperatives to provide 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources. That’s double the amount required now. The governor is concerned about how much of the cost to implement it will be placed on the consumer. While the bill allows no more than 2 percent increase in consumer bills, even Hickenlooper says that cost can’t be controlled. He says the co-ops control that number. Senate President and cosponsor of the bill John Morse says the cost issue is being overblown, and that there is no penalty for not meeting the standard. Tri-State reps have also said current contracts, cost estimates, and the short time frame in which to implement the changes make it impossible to accomplish. The governor has indicated before that he would sign the bill, but local government and Tri-State officials are hoping his hesitation will lead to a veto.
STEAMBOAT TO COMPLETE PARK PROJECT
The City of Steamboat’s Utilities Department, in contract with Duckels Construction, replaced about 1,000 linear feet of sewer interceptor through the West Lincoln Park last fall. The pipe was replaced to provide suitable capacity of the main sewer trunk line leading from the mountain area and downtown to the wastewater treatment plant. This spring Duckels will complete the repair of the park irrigation, place sod in the areas disturbed by construction, and replace the trail through the park which was removed in the course of construction. The concrete trail work is expected to occur next week with sod placement by the end of the month. The Core Trail will be detoured around the construction zone throughout the course of the project. The City asks that users please follow the detour route and take note of all signage so as not to enter the construction zone. Avoiding the area is important from a safety standpoint. In addition damage to wet concrete or new sod due to trespass can prove costly to repair. The overall project cost is around $760,000.
STEAMBOAT PARKS AND REC WARNS OF TRAIL CLOSINGS FOR HIGH WATER
The City of Steamboat’s Parks and Rec Department will be closing sections of the Yampa River Core Trail and other local trails as high water rises this spring. Each spring, as snow melts and the rivers run higher, various sections of the trail are closed as water exceeds the river banks. As the flows increase and decrease there will be several closures and re routes on the trail system. As of now the Highway 40 Underpass at Walton Creek and the Rail Road Underpass upstream of Fetcher Pond, have been closed. The city encourages residents to obey all closures and warn against trying to cross trails with water on them.
LOCAL FORESTS HOST FAMILY ACTIVITY FAIR
In celebration of International Migratory Bird Day, the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and Thunder Basin National Grassland will be co-hosting a Family Activity Fair on Sunday in Steamboat. The Hahns Peak/Bears Ears Ranger District has partnered with Yampatika and the Yampa Valley Birding Club to put on the free family event. The fair will be held at Little Toots Park from 12 to 3. It will feature arts, crafts, Bird Olympics activity, an appearance by Woodsy Owl, story time, a pollinator station, and more. More information about the event can be found by clicking here.
TIPTON CALL FOR DEEPER PROBE INTO IRS
Congressman Scott Tipton is calling for further investigation into the Internal Revenue Service’s practice of targeting conservative groups seeking nonprofit status. Tipton says he called attention to unnecessary targeting over a year ago. Tipton says it is deplorable for any organization to specifically target any group, whether conservative, liberal or otherwise. He says the I.R.S. abused its power and those responsible must be held accountable. Tipton’s comments can be seen by clicking here.
FEDS PROPOSE STRENGTHENING DUI LIMITS
Federal accident investigators recommended yesterday that states cut their threshold for drunken driving by nearly half, matching a standard that has substantially reduced highway deaths in other countries. The National Transportation Safety Board said states should shrink the standard from the current .08 blood alcohol content to .05 as part of a series of recommendations aimed at reducing alcohol-related highway deaths. More than 100 countries have adopted the .05 alcohol content standard or lower, according to a report by the board’s staff. In Europe, the share of traffic deaths attributable to drunken driving was reduced by more than half within 10 years after the limit was lowered.
COLORADO’S FIRST INDUSTRIAL HEMP CROP IS BEING GROWN
Springfield farmer Ryan Loflin is now watching over one of Colorado’s first industrial hemp crops in almost 60 years. The passage of Amendment 64 in November allows commercial growing, even though hemp, like marijuana, is illegal under federal law. Hemp is genetically related to marijuana but contains little or no THC, the drug substance in marijuana. Hemp has dozens of uses in food, cosmetics, clothing and industrial materials. Monday, Loflin began planting 60 acres on land previously used to grow alfalfa. He and business partner Chris Thompson also are installing a seed press to produce hemp oil.
PRESIDENT ORDERS FLAGS AT HALF STAFF
In high school sports:
In boys lacrosse:
Steamboat plays Air Academy at 5 at Legacy Stadium in Cherry Creek in the Semi-finals of the state playoffs.
Moffat County, Steamboat, Hayden, Soroco, Rangely and Meeker go to state at Jeffco Stadium in Denver.
Little Snake River Valley goes to the state meet in Casper.