Nestlé Waters Chaffee County Project: Chaffee County Commissioners approve 1041 permit

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From The Colorado Springs Gazette (R. Scott Rappold):

But county commissioners voted 3-0 to issue a 1041 land-use permit, with a host of conditions they said will address the concerns…

The company draws water from 50 springs around the country, but this will be the first in Colorado. Nestle says it plans to tap several other springs in the state.

More coverage here and here.

Farm Service Agency: Financial assistance and business planning loans available

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From the Valley Courier:

Farm Ownership Loans may be used to purchase a farm, enlarge an existing farm, construct new farm buildings and/or improve structures, pay closing costs, and promote soil and water conservation and protection. Eligible applicants may obtain direct loans up to a maximum indebtedness of $300,000. Maximum indebtedness for guaranteed loans is $1,094,000 (amount adjusted annually for inflation). The maximum repayment term is 40 years for both direct and guaranteed farm ownership loans.

Farm Operating Loans may be used for normal operating expenses, machinery and equipment, real estate repairs, and refinancing debt. Eligible applicants may obtain direct loans for up to a maximum indebtedness of $300,000, and guaranteed loans for up to a maximum indebtedness of $1,094,000 (amount adjusted annually for inflation).

Southern Delivery System: Colorado Springs Utilities rejects opportunity to buy Morley’s Stonewall Springs reservoir site

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From The Colorado Springs Gazette (R. Scott Rappold):

During a meeting of city council – sitting as the Colorado Springs Utilities Board – Utilities officials said the asking price was too steep for a reservoir they don’t need now.

“We don’t have an immediate need right now, and there is plenty of time for us to develop an appropriate solution for our partners,” Utilities CEO Jerry Forte said. “Based on what we know right now, this is expensive, and I think we can do a better job for our customers.”

Utilities has an agreement with several other cities to build a reservoir near the Arkansas River for treated effluent. The Morleys’ site, known as Stonewall Springs, has been identified as a possible site, and in 2005 Utilities was in talks to buy it.

The deal was deemed too expensive – a Utilities appraisal listed it at $3 million, but the sellers wanted $7.25 million – and Utilities stepped away. In June, Utilities was lukewarm to a proposal to buy the site from the Morleys, who had since bought it, for $38 million, an increase in asking price related to the fact the developers had done some work to get land-use approvals for a reservoir.

More Southern Delivery System coverage here and here.

Flaming Gorge pipeline: Corps of Engineers extends comment period to September 28

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From the Casper Start Tribune (Jeff Gearino) via Billings Gazette:

The scoping comment period for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ environmental impact statement will now close Sept. 28, Corps project leader Rena Brand said Tuesday in a media release.
She said the extended comment period will allow the Corps additional time to respond to more than 40 requests for cooperating agency status from a variety of agencies and organizations, including Green River and Sweetwater County.
“The Corps intends to communicate with some entities on consolidating participation by appointing a single point of contact to represent multiple entities,” Brand said…

locals contended the project would hurt local businesses in the area, would curtail future growth in Green River and neighboring Rock Springs and could threaten the world-class fisheries on the river and in the gorge. Last week, Rock Springs council members voted to join a coalition with Green River and the county that aims to fight Million’s proposal. The three governmental entities allocated a combined $450,000 to the Communities Protecting the Green River coalition for the effort, which officials said may include litigation. Additionally, the county and Green River are seeking cooperating agency status as part of the Corps’ environmental impact statement process. Corps officials predicted the draft EIS could be released as early as 2012, with a final permit decision taking up to five years.

In written comments submitted to the Corps last week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said it was opposed to the Million project plan. Service officials said the agency’s concerns focused on how the pipeline would affect threatened or endangered species, migratory birds and habitats, and the overall ecosystem balance.

More Flaming Gorge pipeline coverage here and here.

Pueblo Board of Water Works board meeting recap

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The PBOWW finished up the sale of the Columbine Ditch and approved a 3.2 percent rate hike this week. Here’s a report from Chris Woodka writing for The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

The 3.2-percent rate hike will raise a little more than $1 million to pay debt service on $23 million in bonds, said Seth Clayton, finance division manager. “We will be coming back in November for another increase to cover our normal operations,” Clayton told the board. Clayton estimated the total increase for 2010 would be about 8 to 9 percent, with another 6 to 8 percent in 2011. That’s lower than initial projections of 10 percent each year…

“Nobody in the community is in favor of a rate increase,” President Nick Gradisar said. “But the people I talk to are in favor of what we are doing on the Bessemer.” The bonds would be issued Oct. 22…

The Columbine sale would close Sept. 21. Columbine Ditch is on Fremont Pass 13 miles north of Leadville and brings water to the Arkansas River from the Eagle River basin. Climax needs the water because it lost a water court claim to Denver Water and plans to expand in the future, said Bud O’Hara, water resources division manager. The agreement also would keep Aurora from objecting in the eventual change of use case for the Bessemer Ditch shares, and would also take the Pueblo water board out of the change of diversion case associated with the Columbine. The Columbine water already is available for all uses under the water board’s decree, so it will not require a change of use decree…

The water board is now looking at 67 contracts for a total of 5,339 shares at $10,150 each, with another 10.5 shares pending on the Bessemer Ditch, Hamel said. There are about 20,000 shares on the ditch. The water board plans to spend about $60 million, and will begin closing contracts in September using funds already in the water development fund and from lease revenue.

More Pueblo Board of Water Works coverage here and here.