NORTHWEST COLORADO NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY, JULY 17TH

MOCO COMMISSIONERS LOOKING AT WILDERNESS PROPOSAL FROM DAGGET COUNTY, UTAH

The Daggett County Commissioners in Utah are asking for a hard release of Cold Springs Mountain from Wilderness Study Area designation.  In exchange, they propose the Feds make Diamond Peak Mountain a full-fledged Wilderness Area.  Both areas have been Wilderness Study Areas for decades.  When the designations were made, they were intended to be temporary, but environmentalists and the Federal Government have kept the land locked up.  There is no management difference between WSA’s and actual Wilderness Areas.  While both areas are shared by Colorado, specifically Moffat County, the proposal only calls for action on the Utah side of the border.  However, the Moffat County Commissioners said yesterday, they would like to talk with Daggett County officials about possibly including the Colorado side of the WSA’s as well.  Offering areas for wilderness designation in exchange for releasing WSA’s is a tactic Moffat County officials have talked about in the past.

 

BLM BUYS RANCH TO PROVIDE ACCESS, CHANGES TRANSWEST ROUTE

The Little Snake Field Office of the BLM recently bought what is now called the Gum Drop Ranch, a 900+ acre parcel that was surrounded entirely by BLM land.  The BLM plans to use it for access to more hunting and fishing areas in Moffat County.  The purchase was made with federal funds.  Moffat County has a policy that asks that any land purchased by the Federal Government, be replaced by selling an equal amount of land to private parties.  However, the office says they at least 900 acres of land that’s trespassed on, by other land owners that use it for planting, hunting, or other purposes, that they’ll simply sell those pieces to those private land owners.  The commissioners policy is not binding.  The purchase has also affected the BLM’s proposed route for powerlines through the county.  The original plan would have the lines passing through a corner of the ranch.  Officials from the Little Snake Field Office have now proposed an alternative route, which appears to avoid more private land and Sage Grouse leks.  The Moffat County Commissioner will review the plan, before deciding whether to back it, or whether to push for the original plan.  An Environmental Impact Statement is now available to the public for review.

 

LAWS AGAINST JAYWALKING WILL BE ENFORCED IN STEAMBOAT

Following prior efforts to discourage pedestrians from crossing Lincoln Avenue at un-signalized intersections in the Downtown Steamboat area, City staff has determined that officially restricting pedestrians from crossing at 6th and 10th Streets is necessary. With increasing traffic and frequent pedestrian use Downtown, an ongoing safety concern exists when pedestrians cross Lincoln Avenue at locations that do not have protected crossings.  Later this week, the City Streets Department will be placing pedestrian crossing restriction signs at 6th and 10th Streets. It will now be illegal to cross at 6th and 10th Streets.  Public Works asks those on foot to please pay attention to pedestrian crossing indicators at each signal.

 

SHERIFF SAYS FIRE ACTIVITY HAS BEEN MINIMAL

Moffat County Sheriff Tim Jantz knocked on the wood paneling of the Moffat County Commissioners meeting room yesterday, when the commissioners asked him how the fire season was going so far.  He says, so far, fires in the county have been relatively small.  He says most have been kept to a single tree, or less than 5 acres of brush.  Jantz says things are going better than expected.  He says the National Weather Service predicted absolutely no monsoonal rains this year, but the western part of the county has been seeing some, which has helped keep the fires at bay.  Jantz says the most dangerous part of the fire season should only last another 2 or 3 weeks.

 

GARDNER PROPOSES PLAN TO CUT FEDS ENERGY BILL

Republican Representative Cory Gardner of Colorado and Democratic Representative Peter Welch of Vermont announced bipartisan energy efficiency legislation that would cut the federal government’s energy bill by advancing the use of performance contracts. The federal agencies spend over $6 billion annually on energy.  The Energy Savings Through Public-Private Partnerships Act would save taxpayer dollars without additional appropriations by encouraging federal agencies to enter into energy savings performance contracts and utility energy service contracts. Under the contracts, an energy service company negotiates a contract with a federal agency that specifies the amount of energy savings it will achieve through retrofits and other measures. The company is then paid for its performance out of the savings it achieves rather than through appropriated funds.