Energy policy — nuclear: The Pueblo chapter of Rocky Mountain Farmers Union says thumbs down to proposed power plant in Pueblo County

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From The Ag Journal (Candi Hill):

Vincent Potestio, president of the Pueblo group, said the group is encouraging people throughout the Lower Arkansas Valley to call their county commissioners to oppose the power plant on this property. “RMFU is not against nuclear energy, we’re against the nuclear energy on the proposed site,” Potestio said. They are supportive of solar or wind power on the 75,000 acres, but not supportive of nuclear. Potestio said RMFU is concerned that if something happened to the plant, it would wipe out this entire area. “If this thing throws a cast iron fit like it did in Japan … everyone in this valley will lose their property, their livestock and maybe even their lives,” he said. “I know this will create a lot of jobs, but is it worth the chance of losing everything we have for the jobs?”

Potestio said if the Pueblo County Commissioners approve of the nuclear plant (they will vote April 25), “I hope, for God’s sake, that they make the company be bonded for whatever this valley is worth.”

More nuclear coverage here and here.

Northern Integrated Supply Project update

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From the Loveland Reporter-Herald (Jackie Hutchins):

Rena Brand, a regulatory specialist from the Corps of Engineers office in Littleton, updated people attending a regional water meeting (The Poudre Runs Through It) Thursday night about the status of the water project…

Brand told those attending the Poudre Runs Through It: Northern Colorado’s Water Future forum that her agency has taken the unusual step of doing some further study to create a supplemental draft environmental impact statement. When the document is finished, probably in December, it will be released to the public, and another round of public hearings will take place, she said. “So we still have a little ways to go.”[…]

She said besides Army Corps of Engineers approval, the NISP project will need a water quality certificate from the state, Larimer County planning approval, and approvals from the Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Environmental Protection Agency, Colorado Historical Society and Colorado Department of Transportation, which is involved because the proponent has proposed moving a highway to make room for Glade Reservoir.

More Northern Integrated Supply Project coverage here and here.

The Middle Colorado River Partnership scores a $64,400 grant from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for study of the reach from Glenwood Springs to DeBeque

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From the Glenwood Springs Post Independent:

The funding includes a $64,600 grant from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, as well as $72,200 in matching funds for the 18-month project. It is expected to begin this fall. “The basic idea is to better understand the resource we have and the challenges it faces,” said Chris Treese, with the Colorado River Water Conservation District, which helped form the partnership. “We’re working to build greater awareness within our communities about the watershed and what it means in our lives.”[…]

The initial task is to analyze existing information and develop a “State of the Watershed Report” that assesses current conditions. Building on that assessment, the partnership will work with local stakeholders to identify projects or activities to tackle key issues. The final plan could recommend a variety of activities, from on-the-ground restoration projects to public education efforts. “The good news is that we think the watershed is probably in pretty good shape,” said Mike Wilde, a member of the partnership’s steering committee who also sits on the Mount Sopris Soil Conservation District. “But should we take that as a given? Or are there things we should be doing proactively to ensure its long term health?”

More Colorado River basin coverage here.

La Niña update

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From the Summit County Citizens Voice (Bob Berwyn):

In a three-month outlook covering April through June, National Weather Service forecasters say the weakening La Niña (cooler than average sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern Equatorial Pacific) will continue to influence Colorado’s weather, but to a continually lessening degree. Off the coast of Central America and northern South America, sea surface temperatures have actually climbed above average.

Through the first part of the three-month period, a west-to-east jet stream is expected to dominate the weather, with occasional dips (short-wave troughs) bringing spells of mountain snow on west-facing slopes favored under orographic conditions.

“The Pacific jet stream will likely continue to produce periods of moderate to heavy mountain snowfall on progressively higher west-facing mountain slopes as temperatures rise through at least the end of April,” forecaster Mike Baker said. ” … (A)t the same time, this prevailing zonal flow pattern will also continue to generate periods of abnormally warm and very dry weather, accompanied by potentially damaging downslope (Chinook) wind events in areas east of the Continental Divide.” This wind-flow pattern is also an important part of the Great Sand Dunes ecosystem in the San Luis Valley, helping to replenish the dunes,” he explained.

Later in May and into June, the pattern really starts to change. June is often one of the driest months in the high country, as increasingly warm temperatures in the desert southwest and across the Great Basin build a bubble of high pressure that pushes the jet stream farther north. Troughs in the jet stream will still dive southward across Wyoming and into Utah, but not as frequently. The same pattern can bring strong, gusty northwest winds to the Front Range and nearby plains, leading to a continued high fire hazard in that region. Currently, the eastern half of the state is rated as being in a moderate to severe drought, with little relief in sight in the next three months.