Drought news: Governor Hickenlooper requests drought assistance for Baca, Prowers and Otero counties

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From the Colorado Independent (Scot Kersgaard):

“Colorado’s southern counties are experiencing significant drought resulting in failed grain crops as well as the loss of forage for livestock,” the governor’s letter said. Baca, Crowley and Otero counties asked Hickenlooper to seek the federal assistance and be declared primary drought disaster areas. The declaration, if approved, would allow farmers and ranchers to apply for emergency loans if they are unable to obtain credit elsewhere.

More drought coverage from The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

Emergency grazing of Conservation Reserve Program acreage has been approved for eight Southern Colorado counties: Baca, Otero, Crowley, Kiowa, Prowers, Bent, Pueblo and Las Animas. “This authorization provides relief for many Colorado livestock producers who have suffered through severe drought conditions,” said Trudy Kareus, state executive director of the Colorado Farm Service Agency. “The drought has depleted hay supplies and affected the growth of hay and pasture in parts of Colorado. Many livestock producers cannot maintain their current herds without implementation of . . . emergency grazing,” Kareus said. Emergency grazing is allowed through Sept. 30.

The authorization calls for participants to leave at least 25 percent of each field or contiguous reserve program fields ungrazed for wildlife, or graze not more than 75 percent of the stocking rate. And all livestock must be removed by the end of this grazing period.

Energy policy — nuclear: Energy Fuels plans to spend $1 million over the next 18 months in preparation to process uranium at the proposed Piñon Ridge Mill

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From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Gary Harmon):

Energy Fuels Resources Inc. will spend about $1 million during the next 18 months on mines, drilling and other activities aimed at getting ready for feeding ore to the mill, the company said. “Energy Fuels is quietly assembling an impressive array of properties on the Colorado Plateau,” Energy Fuels President and Chief Executive Officer Steven P. Antony said.

While pursuing construction of the $150 million mill, Energy Fuels is taking steps to ascertain the value of its current holdings and seek new sources of uranium and vanadium, possibly in other mines that Energy Fuels might consider acquiring. “Our ultimate goal is to bring these proven and formerly producing mines back into production and process the material at the Pinon Ridge Mill,” Antony said.

Plans include drilling, resource verification and the preparation of technical reports to reflect the size and grade of resources in compliance with Canadian reporting standards, company spokesman Gary Steele said…

Meanwhile, it is seeking U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approval of a state air-quality permit and construction of the tailings impoundment.

More coverage Katharhynn Heidelberg writing for the Montrose Daily Press. From the article:

“What we’re doing is acquiring more property that has uranium, that might eventually be made into mines in the future, in Southwest Colorado and southeastern Utah,” said spokesman Curtis Moore on Friday. “We’re not increasing any mill capacity.”

The proposed Piñon Ridge mill’s permits and licenses allow for 500 tons per day of uranium and vanadium to be processed. Although Energy Fuels wants to expand mine properties by acquiring leases and mineral rights, the mill itself is not expanding, Moore said. “The mill cap of 500 tons per day, that’s what we’re permitted for. That’s not changing,” he said.

More nuclear coverage here and here.

Energy policy — coalbed methane: Water Court Division Seven judge dismisses BP America and others applications

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From the Associated Press via The Denver Post:

The Durango Herald reports BP America Production Co. and others had sought claims to nontributary groundwater, which isn’t considered connected to surface streams. Water Judge Gregory Lyman said last month that state law gives landowners the right to such water under their property, so companies need landowners’ consent first.

More coalbed methane coverage here and here.

Runoff news: Summit County cancels voluntary evacuation order for Montezuma, Peru Creek water levels falling

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From The Denver Post:

Minor issued the evacuation order after a partially blocked culvert threatened to flood homes on Montezuma Road at Peru Creek, according to the sheriff. The creek dropped between two and three feet last night [June 17], said Tracy LeClair, spokeswoman for the Summit County Sheriff’s Department.

FIBArk Festival recap: Flying Ligers win raft rodeo

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From The Mountain Mail (Kevin Hoffman):

A panel of judges chose the best rafts loosely based on spectator reaction and criteria such as biggest flip and most creative pirating attempt. The Ligers were steered by Boulder residents Gary Lacy, Spencer Lacy and Shane Sigle along with Mark Poindexter of Austin, Texas. The crew had several passengers throughout the tournament, but Spencer Lacy won the crowd’s attention with several flips off the raft into the wave…

In second place the Black Sheep, a Raft Masters guide known as B.L., captained his boat solo. Two unidentified men steering a green craft aptly called the Leprechaun took third place in the event.

Click through for a photo of the event.

More whitewater coverage here.

CWCB: Next board meeting will be in Walden on July 12-13

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Here’s the meeting notice from the Colorado Water Conservation Board:

Notice is hereby given that a meeting of the CWCB will be held on Tuesday July 12, 2011, commencing at 8:00 a.m. and continuing through Wednesday, July 13, 2011. This meeting will be held at the Antlers Inn, in Walden Colorado…

Complete information about these activities can be found on CWCB’s Website:
http://www.cwcb.state.co.us.

More CWCB coverage here.