LAWMAKERS ATTEMPT TO SKIRT PRESIDENT ON KEYSTONE PIPELINE ISSUE
Yesterday Representative Scott Tipton voted to pass House Resolution 3, to build the Keystone XL Pipeline. The measure passed the House with bipartisan support. Prior to passage Tipton urged his colleagues on the House floor to support the Northern Route Approval Act, which seeks to remove the requirement for a presidential permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline and approve the construction, operation and maintenance of the pipeline. The Keystone XL Pipeline is estimated to create 20,000 jobs directly and another 22,000 jobs indirectly over the project’s construction period. The Canadian Energy Research Institute estimates that the pipeline will add $172 billion to America’s gross domestic product by 2035. The State Department recently estimated that approximately 42,100 jobs would be created over the project construction period. Environmental Impact Statements, studies and assessments have concluded that the Keystone XL Pipeline would not cause harm to the health and safety of the land, air, water or people with which it may come in contact with. The company building the pipeline has even offered to address one of the biggest environmental concerns by rerouting the pipeline around the Ogallala aquifer in the Nebraska Sandhills, voluntarily incurring millions in additional costs.
TIPTON TO HOLD TOWN HALL MEETING IN MEEKER NEXT WEEK
Congressman Scott Tipton will be in Meeker next week. The representative will hold a Town Hall meeting to provide a legislative update. He’ll also answer questions from those in the audience. The event is free and open to the public. It will be held May 30th at 6 in the Rio Blanco County Commissioners’ office.
CONTROLLED BURN PLANNED FOR ELK HEAD TOMORROW
Tomorrow, the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office in conjunction with the Colorado River Conservation District will be conducting a controlled burn at Elkhead Reservoir. The burn will take place on the Elkhead Dam road, also known as Moffat County Road 28. They will be burning driftwood piles in an effort to reduce the amount of floating debris and improve the safety for boaters and the public. The burn is expected to be conducted between 11 and 6 tomorrow, weather permitting. The public can expect heavy smoke at times. Moffat County Road 28 will be open for traffic but they ask people to reduce their speed due to the smoke in the area and for firefighter safety.
TIPTON’S ENERGY BILL MOVES CLOSER TO HOUSE VOTE
Yesterday, Representative Scott Tipton’s Planning for American Energy Act moved one step closer to a House vote after receiving a legislative hearing in the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Minerals. H.R. 1394 seeks to establish common sense steps to create an all-of-the-above American energy plan for utilizing federal lands to meet America’s energy needs, without removing a single environmental safeguard. The bill requires that all domestic sources including wind, solar, hydropower, geothermal, oil, natural gas, coal, oil shale and minerals needed for energy development be included in the plan. Under the legislation, the non-partisan Energy Information Administration provides the projected energy needs of the United States for the next 30 years to the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture on which they then base four year production plans.
JUDGE TO HEAR GUN SUIT IS GUN OWNER
A federal judge assigned to hear a lawsuit filed by sheriffs challenging Colorado’s new gun laws is a gun owner herself but says she doesn’t believe a recusal is warranted. Judges typically disclose potential conflicts of interest in cases they hear. In court documents filed yesterday, U.S. District Court Judge Marcia Krieger says she owns and is proficient in the use of firearms. Magistrate Judge Michael Watanabe also is assigned to the case. He doesn’t own any firearms but disclosed that he has worked with two sheriffs who are among the plaintiffs. Both judges said they don’t believe recusal is necessary. The sheriffs contend that new Colorado laws limiting the size of ammunition magazines and expanding background checks infringe on the Second Amendment. The state hasn’t filed a response yet.
GROUP HAILS FOOD STAMP PROGRAM AS JOB CREATOR
A liberal Colorado group is claiming that keeping Americans on food stamps helps create jobs. The U.S. Senate this week is considering re-authorization of the Farm Bill, which includes the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps. A Colorado Center on Law and Policy analysis of the economic impact of SNAP spending in Colorado found that the program supports more than 15,000 jobs in the state. They say the 500,000 Coloradans using the program creates a much needed economic stimulus to the state’s economy, which helps sustain thousands of Colorado jobs. Discussion on the Farm Bill is expected to continue into the summer as the Senate and House of Representatives work to resolve differences in competing versions of the bill. It’s unclear how SNAP will fare, but it is possible the program will be cut to some extent.
GOVERNOR DELAYS EXECUTION
Governor John Hickenlooper has delayed the execution of Nathan Dunlap. Dunlap was convicted in 1996 for the killing of four employees at a Chuck E. Cheese in Denver in 1993. Hickenlooper has delayed Dunlap’s execution indefinitely, and says it’s unlikely that he will ever allow it. He says he has concerns about the state’s death penalty. The reaction is strange, due to the fact that Hickenlooper warned democrats during the legislative session that he would veto any bill looking to repeal the death penalty. The decision is especially disheartening for prosecutors seeking the death penalty against James Holmes for the Aurora Theater shooting.