NORTHWEST COLORADO NEWS FOR THURSDAY, JANUARY 3RD

 

49 YEAR OLD CRAIG MAN DIES IN  EXPLOSION

A tank explosion about 6 miles north of Craig, at an oil facility on Moffat County Road 103, claimed the life of a Craig man this morning.  The deceased was identified as 49 year old Jon Herod who died at the scene of the accident.  According to a Sheriff’s Office release, employees of Herod Industries were attempting to offload some produced water into a tank from a fracking site.  An onsite supervisor with Axia Energy said the employees were unable to offload the produced water into the tank because the valves were frozen due to the cold weather.  A propane heating device, used by employees to unthaw the valves, is believed to have caused the 300 barrel tank to explode.  The Craig fire department, EMS and Sheriff’s Department officials responded to the explosion and resulting fire around 10:30 this morning. Firefighters were at the scene about three hours before they were able to wrap up operations.  Photo: the fire as seen from the Seely home.

 

ENERGY PRODUCTION ON THE DECLINE IN NORTHWEST COLORADO

According to Yampa Valley Data Partners, oil and gas production is down in Moffat and Routt Counties.  The numbers reflect production as of September.  The number of wells decreased as well.  As far as coal is concerned, Routt County coal mines had a 5.5% increase in employment, from September of 2011, and a 1.1% increase in production.  However, the group says those numbers are skewed due to the opening of the new Sage Creek Mine.  They say a true picture of Routt County’s coal production won’t be known until the Sage Creek Mine has been operating for a year.  Moffat County’s numbers weren’t as good.  Employment in Moffat County’s coal mines decreased 3.6%, while production decreased by 12.1%.  The numbers are considered a sign of things to come, as the president continues his war on coal, with mandates on power plants to produce a certain percentage of power from renewable sources.  The Yampa Valley employs 41% of the states coal miners.

 

WIND ENERGY PRODUCTION TAX CREDIT IS EXTENDED

The Wind Energy Production Tax Credit has been extended.  The extension means that producers of wind energy in Colorado can likely continue to operate, despite the cost of doing so.  Senator Michael Bennet was a big supporter of the tax break.  He says businesses that now rely on wind energy producers can rest easy, and continue to invest in the technology.  Opponents of the credit say wind energy production is too costly, and creates fewer jobs than more traditional energy production.  The extension is expected to directly or indirectly preserve up to 37,000 jobs, according to the American Wind Energy Association.  Bennet’s office says among the states, Colorado generates the third highest percentage of power from wind.

 

REPRESENTATIVE-ELECT BOB RANKIN IN CRAIG TONIGHT

State Representative-elect Bob Rankin will be in Craig tonight.  Rankin is meeting with residents to discuss his upcoming term.  The theme of the meeting is “Where do we go from here?”  The Bears Ears Tea Party Patriots are hosting the meeting.  Rankin will give a speech and then open the floor for questions.  The meeting is tonight at 7 at the Center of Craig.

 

PUBLIC COMMENT SOUGHT IN RABBIT EARS PARKING ISSUES

Recreationists who use the Rabbit Ears Pass area east of Steamboat Springs during the winter months are being asked by Routt National Forest officials to provide written comments about parking along U.S. Highway 40.  Since the mid 1990s, demand for parking facilities to accommodate growing snowmobile use, as well as today’s larger trucks and trailers has increased in the area. With increased demand, there is also a need to consider installing sanitation facilities for visitors.  In order to assist Forest officials in understanding public support and/or concerns with these potential projects, the public is asked to specifically consider and provide input on the possibility of implementing Day Use Fees to pay for potential projects.  Ay other suggestions or ideas would also be welcome.  Written comments may be submitted to Environmental Coordinator Tony Koch at USDA Forest Service, 925 Weiss Drive, Steamboat Springs, CO 80487.  Electronic comments can be sent to: comments-rm-medicine-bow-routt-hahns-peak-bears-ears@fs.fed.us (rtf, pdf and Word formats accepted).  In-person comments should be directed to Acting District Ranger Jack Lewis at the HPBE Ranger District in Steamboat Springs.

 

TIPTON PRAISES PASSAGE OF FISH RECOVERY BILL

Representative Scott Tipton applauded the Senate’s passage of the Endangered Fish Recovery Programs Extension Act of 2012, a measure to help restore the populations of four endangered fish species in the Colorado River. Tipton is an original co-sponsor of the bill and played a role in guiding it successfully through the House. The Senate passed the measure un-amended and with unanimous consent.  The measure would ensure compliance with the Endangered Species Act for over 2000 water projects that withdraw water from the Colorado River, and provide water for agriculture producers, homes and other businesses, as well as clean, renewable hydroelectric power. The bill also includes spending reforms that eliminate agency inefficiencies and overhead costs, and is cost-free according to the Congressional Budget Office.

 

WAIT TIME FOR BACKGROUND CHECKS NOW 9 DAYS

The wait time for a firearms background check in Colorado is now more than nine days.  The check once took less than an hour on average but soared along with requests for background checks after the shootings at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut in December.  The Colorado Bureau of Investigation says there were 11,420 background checks waiting to be processed as of yesterday morning.  CBI spokeswoman Susan Medina says the Colorado Department of Public Safety plans to ask lawmakers for $500,000 for more staff and technology to handle the checks.

 

NORTHWEST COLORADO BROADBAND ISSUES TO BE DISCUSSED

The Broadband Team of Northwest Colorado will hold a discussion on broadband issues later this month.  Topics will include the planning process, available resources, grant and local contract opportunities, and Eagle Net, among other things.  Everyone is invited to attend, and the group welcomes public comment.  The meeting will be held January 15th from 1 to 3 in the main level conference room of the Moffat County Courthouse.

 

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