Energy and Commerce sub-committee approves the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2012

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From The Telluride Watch (Samantha Wright):

On June 7, the Energy and Power Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the [H.R. 5892, the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2012] on a voice vote with no objections and no amendments…

The Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2012, or HR 3680, would among other things eliminate Federal Energy Regulatory Commission involvement for non-controversial small (under 5 MW) conduit projects following a 45-day FERC public noticing period. A conduit project is one that is built on existing infrastructure, such as a pipeline, ditch or canal. The potential for conduit projects is particularly vast in the mountains of southwestern Colorado.

“Every small town in the mountains has got a pipeline for their water supply that goes up the hill,” [Kurt Johnson, resident of the Colorado Small Hydro Association and Principal at Telluride Energy] pointed out. “Not having to get a FERC permit [to put a small hydro-electric generating plant on such existing infrastructure] would be a massive boost,” he said.

Precipitation news: Pueblo gets soaked

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Click on the thumbnail graphic for the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network map for Pueblo County as of this morning. Here’s a report from The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

Parts of Pueblo received between .40 and .60 inches of rain during the 4:50 p.m. storm. The Sunset Park area, however, recorded .96 inches of rain. Some areas didn’t get as much rain, however, like the National Weather Service headquarters by Pueblo Memorial Airport, which received only .06 inches…

Severe weather tore through Springfield for a brief period Saturday evening. Two confirmed tornadoes touched down around 7:10 p.m. according to the National Weather Service. One of the tornadoes was located north of Springfield and the other was north of the town of Pritchett. “The twisters were fairly weak and very short-lived,” said Harold Self, Baca County emergency management director.

High Park Fire: ‘We need greater resolution in real time’ — Sher Schranz

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From The Denver Post (Electa Draper):

“It’s been difficult to predict the behavior of the High Park Fire,” [Sher Schranz, research coordinator with Colorado State University’s Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere] said. “It jumped over the (Poudre) river and the road. That was unexpected early on. This fire has sometimes baffled incident managers.”

The behavior of winds in the complex terrain and conditions of the High Park fire has also at times stumped researchers by not conforming to their models, Schranz said. Numerical weather prediction models — forecasting wind speed, direction, temperature, humidity and visibility for fire managers — have greatly improved in the last 10 years, she said, but they still aren’t good enough. “We need greater resolution in real time,” she, referring to the institute and other collaborators at the NOAA Earth System Research Lab in Boulder. “We need more detailed observations of the atmosphere from the ground up to several thousand feet.”

Fires are fought on the ground a few feet at a time, she said, so knowing what’s generally expected over a few square miles isn’t adequate.