Denver: ‘Save the American Dream’ rally

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I was at the rally yesterday. Click on the thumbnail graphics to the right for a couple of photos. Some of the riot police were stationed at 14th and Sherman.

Here’s a tweet from email:

Earlier today, the Sheet Metal Workers tweeted, “America would like to thank Scott Walker for waking a sleeping giant-our labor movement! #p2 #wiunion #solidarity.”

The very first time that I stood near the west steps of the capitol building, exercising my free political speech, was in 1968 when Coloradans greeted former Governor George Wallace of Alabama during that tumultuous summer. An organized section of the crowd shouted — in unison — something that sounded like, “I can still pluck my yew,” each time the governor started to speak. That really got his goat so he started yelling back at them. We never did hear what he came to say.

Snowpack news

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This time of year Arizonans are looking upriver at the snowpack in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. They are welcoming big releases from Lake Powell for the farms and cities of the desert southwest and hoping for more. Here’s a report from Tony Davis writing for the The Arizona Daily Star. From the article:

The Colorado River Basin Forecasting Center predicts that April-July runoff into Lake Powell, which straddles the Arizona-Utah border, will be about 113 percent of normal. That’s about 9 million acre-feet of water. An acre-foot is about 325,850 gallons. Last year’s April-June runoff was only 73 percent of average, or 5.79 million acre-feet, said Brenda Alcorn, a forecaster for the center in Salt Lake City. For the decade of 2000-2009, the Colorado’s average annual flow into Lee’s Ferry, just below Lake Powell, was the lowest for any decade since authorities started keeping records on the river more than a century ago…

Lake Mead is now about 40 percent full, while Lake Powell is about 60 percent full. But the bureau’s Buck adds that forecasts change monthly and could go up or down by April, the start of the spring-runoff season. “We want to err on the side of caution in these forecasts,” Buck said. “In the past, we’ve looked pretty good up to this point, but by the time April rolled around, it wasn’t so good.”

Arkansas Basin Roundtable update meeting March 1

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

A progress report on the activities of the Arkansas Basin Roundtable is set for 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesday at Otero Junior College in La Junta. The meeting is part of an outreach by the roundtable to explain how it has dealt with water issues in the Arkansas River basin since the roundtable was created by the Legislature in 2005. Previous meetings have been in Colorado Springs and Salida.

More IBCC — basin roundtables coverage here.

Orchard City: Private water systems in the area face steep costs and loss of control to connect to the municipal system

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From the Delta County Indpendent (Hank Lohmeyer):

The town has offered to pay half the materials costs if 19 of 39 Bull Mesa Pipeline members pay the other half, and also pay all installation to bring their local system up to current town specifications. The town then wants to tap those 19 members into the new West Side transmission line and take them over as town water customers. At the Bull Mesa Pipeline Company’s annual meeting on Feb. 18, members found little advantage to their system from the town’s offer. But, the offer is delivered with a velvet hammer touch: If the pipeline company doesn’t accept the town’s offer now, then if future state regulations allow or require the town to take the pipeline over, it could be on terms far less favorable than the ones being offered now…

Orchard City’s offer appears straightforward on its face. But it passes without mention of several thorny issues it raises.

• Only 19 water taps of 39 on the Bull Mesa pipeline would be affected. Accepting the town’s offer would mean splitting the company in half with those 19 members leaving to become water customers of the town directly. Members at the annual meeting saw possible legal issues involved with splitting the company. The town’s offer applies only to the 19 members on the lower portion of the pipeline, and not to the upper 20 members.

• The idea of “abandoning” the upper pipeline members, who in many cases are friends and neighbors, was objectionable to members. The move would leave th eother 20 to their own reduced-resource fate after many decades of working together to build and maintain the Bull Mesa system.

• The town’s offer would mean, by rough calculations, spending an estimated $3,000 by each of the 19 members to bring their current water service lines up to town specifications. And, it would mean draining half of the company’s $20,000 bank account to help pay for the upgrades.

• The town’s offer means that after the local system is upgraded, all the new investment along with more than a half century of work building the system would be given to the town, for free – a major sticking point.

• The 19 tap owners would still pay the same higher outside rates as others do, along with getting lower monthly “minimums.” And they would be completely at the mercy of whatever water policy is adopted by the town board, a board they have no vote on.

• Important also is the sense of freedom of self determination that members of the Bull Mesa company derive from being able to manage their own water supply.

• There were also some unanswered technical questions in the town’s offer.

More infrastructure coverage here.

Wastewater: Englewood and Littleton are considering a $10 million disinfection system for their combined plant

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From the Littleton Independent (Tom Munds):

The plant is jointly owned by the cities of Englewood and Littleton. It is a regional facility that serves the foothills area from Interstate 25 to the foothills and from Highlands Ranch north to Evans Avenue. The plant provides treatment services to about 160,000 accounts, which serve about 300,000 people. A recent four-year modernization and expansion project cost more than $113 million and expanded the size of the plant by about 39 percent. However, more stringent federal and state regulations are coming that require additional disinfection treatment. Plant officials and representatives of the engineering consulting firm met with both city councils to explain how the evaluation was done that resulted in the recommendation to install the ultraviolet system at a cost of about $10 million. Stu Fonda, utility director, said the bonds to install the system would be paid for through small increases in service fees that would total about $4 to about $12 a month.

The team met with the Littleton City Council on Feb. 8. The council debated the issue and then the consensus was to seek a second opinion. “We wanted a second firm to look at the proposal and tell us whether the change to a different disinfection process is necessary and, if it is necessary, is the ultraviolet system the best way to go?” Littleton Mayor Doug Clark said…

The types of disinfection evaluated included chlorine dioxide, ozone, peracetic acid, chlorination and ultraviolet. Kurt Petrik, supervising engineer for consultant Brown and Caldwell, said the ultraviolet system was selected because it offered significantly more benefits than the other systems evaluated. Some of the benefits included no toxic disinfection by-products, elimination of the need to store and handle toxic chemicals and a lower operating cost. Fonda said the ultraviolet system’s operating expenses would be about $70,000 less than now spent to operate the chlorine-based system.

More wastewater coverage here and here.

Energy policy — oil shale: Grand Junction Energy Forum & Expo recap

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From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Dennis Webb):

Anton “Tony” Dammer, senior vice president of Red Leaf Resources Inc., said a spike in oil prices related to concerns about Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s response to unrest there shows how vulnerable the United States is because of its reliance on foreign oil. “He’s holding us up. He just cost us $20 a barrel. I mean, come on, we can’t do this anymore,” Dammer said at Friday’s Energy Forum & Expo at Grand Junction’s Two Rivers Convention Center.

Dammer is the former director of the Department of Energy’s Office of Naval Petroleum and Oil Shale Reserves, and he founded the DOE’s Unconventional Fuels Program. At Red Leaf, he’s helping pursue a process of producing kerogen from shallow oil shale deposits in northeastern Utah. Red Leaf has shale leases covering 17,000 acres of state school trust lands, and the company plans to undertake a 9,500-barrel-a-day project there that will employ 200 people, Dammer said. Utah welcomes oil shale development, Dammer said.

More oil shale coverage here and here.