Western Governors Association annual meeting recap

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From the Associated Press (Matt Gouras) via the Sky-Hi Daily News:

In many states, water claims in entire watersheds remain in limbo without the funding to sort out exactly who owns what, [University of Arizona law professor and author Robert Glennon] said. Then there are the treaty claims by many Native American tribes that can stretch back 150 years. Some of the claims are still the focus of unresolved settlements that ultimately could require the taxpayers to cough up cash to buy the water rights. About three-quarters of the region’s water goes to agriculture. Glennon said prices need to be raised to increase conservation — a notion not quickly embraced by the governors.

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter said the water claims can only be sorted out locally, even if it’s a laborious process. No would trust outsiders to come in and do it for them, he said. “We are very jealous about our water in Idaho and our use of it,” Otter said.

There is still too little known about the interconnection of different water aquifers, rivers and basins, the governors were told. These relationships will be key in charting out water use agreements. “I think there is general consensus we can’t manage what we can’t measure and we what we don’t understand,” said Michael Connor, commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

Oh be Joyful Kayak race photos

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Check out the photo essay from last weekend’s Oh Be Joyful Kayak Race from The Colorado Springs Gazette.

More whitewater coverage here.

Energy policy — nuclear: Black Range Minerals says they are 3-5 years out from mining operations

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From the Cañon City Daily Record (Charlotte Burrows):

“Before we can make any decision about whether we might have a commercially viable operation by incorporating additional resources, we need to update the work that was done historically.” said Black Range Minerals managing director Mike Haynes during a community meeting Friday at the Abbey. “In order to update that work, we need to drill six to 12 holes down on the northern end of the South T-Bar Ranch. In order to drill those holes, several weeks ago, we launched an amendment to our application a week ago to have the conditional use permit incorporate the South T-Bar Ranch into the existing CUP.” That will take about three months. In anticipation of that application being granted, the additional 12 holes will be drilled in October, which will take about six or eight weeks. Upon completion, the company would then analyze the results to determine whether or not to proceed…

Mining uranium began when it was first discovered in 1954. From 1954 to 1972, there were more than 16 mines operated on Tallahassee Creek District, which consisted of 120,000 acres from the Arkansas River up toward Hartsel, Haynes said.

More nuclear coverage here and here.

Energy policy — oil and gas: 2010 Colorado elections

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From the Colorado Statesman (Ernest Luning):

At a forum sponsored by the Denver Petroleum Club, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper and former U.S. Rep. Scott McInnis surveyed the state of the oil and gas industry in Colorado and offered proposals to pull the conversation back from what both characterized as polarized extremes…

Judging by the results of an instant poll conducted among audience members — using hand-held opinion meters — the state’s oil and gas crowd believes its industry is treated unfairly in Colorado and is on the decline. By a large margin, those who registered their opinions said government regulation is the top issue facing the industry, outweighing environmental concerns and commodity prices…

Last year’s tough oil and gas regulations are responsible for driving jobs out of Colorado, McInnis told the crowd of about 250. He also blasted Hickenlooper for allowing the rules to go into effect without protest, despite what he called the industry’s enormous impact on Denver’s economy. “Colorado moved from a state that was very friendly — that also had best practices in place, but also knew how to put people to work,” McInnis said. “All of a sudden, we began to swing and became one of the toughest states to do business in.”[…]

Staking out his own version of a middle course, Hickenlooper — who made frequent reference to his work as a geologist before opening a brewpub in Denver after the oil and gas industry crashed in the 1980s — outlined a series of steps he said would encourage compromise between factions that agree about more than they realize. Noting that he was still a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Hickenlooper argued that his own history gave him “a certain perspective — there’s not so much separating the different sides in this issue.” When it comes down to it, he said, the various sides “agree on 90 to 95 percent of the issues” and can reach positions they can all live with, if only they sit down and talk. “If we can’t get 100 percent of the oil,” he suggested, “how do we get 85 percent, 90 percent?” On the other side, he said, “How do we limit encroachment on the environment to be as little as possible?”

More 2010 Colorado elections coverage here.