A COVID-19 plea to recreationists — News on TAP


Denver Water asks people to stay put and help take pressure off our employees, facilities and mountain communities. The post A COVID-19 plea to recreationists appeared first on News on TAP.

via A COVID-19 plea to recreationists — News on TAP

Amsterdam to embrace ‘doughnut’ model to mend post-#coronavirus economy — The Guardian #COVID19

From The Guardian (Daniel Boffey):

A doughnut cooked up in Oxford will guide Amsterdam out of the economic mess left by the coronavirus pandemic.

While straining to keep citizens safe in the Dutch capital, municipality officials and the British economist Kate Raworth from Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute have also been plotting how the city will rebuild in a post-Covid-19 world.

The conclusion? Out with the global attachment to economic growth and laws of supply and demand, and in with the so-called doughnut model devised by Raworth as a guide to what it means for countries, cities and people to thrive in balance with the planet.

Raworth’s 2017 bestselling book, Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist, has graced the bedside table of people ranging from the former Brexit secretary David Davis to the Guardian columnist George Monbiot, who described it as a “breakthrough alternative to growth economics”.

The classic image of the Doughnut; the extent to which boundaries are transgressed and social foundations are met are not visible on this diagram. Graphic via Wikipedia.com

The inner ring of her donut sets out the minimum we need to lead a good life, derived from the UN’s sustainable development goals and agreed by world leaders of every political stripe. It ranges from food and clean water to a certain level of housing, sanitation, energy, education, healthcare, gender equality, income and political voice. Anyone not attaining such minimum standards is living in the doughnut’s hole.

The outer ring of the doughnut, where the sprinkles go, represents the ecological ceiling drawn up by earth-system scientists. It highlights the boundaries across which human kind should not go to avoid damaging the climate, soils, oceans, the ozone layer, freshwater and abundant biodiversity.

Between the two rings is the good stuff: the dough, where everyone’s needs and that of the planet are being met.

On Wednesday, the model will be formally embraced by the municipality of Amsterdam as the starting point for public policy decisions, the first city in the world to make such a commitment.

“I think it can help us overcome the effects of the crisis”, said Amsterdam’s deputy mayor, Marieke van Doorninck, who joined Raworth in an interview with the Guardian via Skype before the launch. “It might look strange that we are talking about the period after that but as a government we have to … It is to help us to not fall back on easy mechanisms.”

“When suddenly we have to care about climate, health, and jobs and housing and care and communities, is there a framework around that can help us with all of that?” Raworth says. “Yes there is, and it is ready to go.”

The central premise is simple: the goal of economic activity should be about meeting the core needs of all but within the means of the planet. The “doughnut” is a device to show what this means in practice.

Raworth scaled down the model to provide Amsterdam with a “city portrait” showing where basic needs are not being met and “planetary boundaries” overshot. It displays how the issues are interlinked.

“It is not just a hippy way at looking at the world,” says Van Doorninck, citing the housing crisis as an example.

Residents’ housing needs are increasingly not being satisfied, with almost 20% of city tenants unable to cover their basic needs after paying their rent, and just 12% of approximately 60,000 online applicants for social housing being successful.

One solution might be to build more homes but Amsterdam’s doughnut highlights that the area’s carbon dioxide emissions are 31% above 1990 levels. Imports of building materials, food and consumer products from outside the city boundaries contribute 62% of those total emissions.

Van Doorninck says the city plans to regulate to ensure builders use materials that are as often possible recycled and bio based, such as wood. But the doughnut approach also encourages policymakers to lift their eyes to the horizon.

“The fact that houses are too expensive is not only to do with too few being built. There is a lot of capital flowing around the world trying to find an investment, and right now real estate is seen as the best way to invest, so that drives up prices,” she says.

“The doughnut does not bring us the answers but a way of looking at it, so that we don’t keep on going on in the same structures as we used to.”

The port of Amsterdam is the world’s single largest importer of cocoa beans, mostly from west Africa, where the labour is often highly exploitative.

As an independent private company it could reject such products and take the economic hit, but at the same time almost one in five households in Amsterdam qualify for social benefits due to low incomes and savings.

Van Doorninck says the port is looking at how it moves on from dependence on fossil fuels as part of the city’s new vision, and she expects that to naturally evolve into a wider debate over other pressing dilemmas brought to the forefront by the doughnut model.

“It gives space to talk about whether you want to be the place where products are being stored that are produced by child labour or by other forms of labour exploitation,” she says.

Raworth adds: “Who would expect in a portrait of the city of Amsterdam that you would include labour rights in west Africa? And that is the value of the tool.”

Both recognise the need for national government and supranational authorities to get on board. Raworth’s last meeting just before the lockdown in Belgium was with the European commission in Brussels, where she says great interest was expressed.

“The world is experiencing a series of shocks and surprise impacts which are enabling us to shift away from the idea of growth to ‘thriving’, Raworth says. “Thriving means our wellbeing lies in balance. We know it so well in the level of our body. This is the moment we are going to connect bodily health to planetary health.”

Critical April #snowpack above average, but potential for dry spring causes concern — @WaterEdCO #runoff

From Water Education Colorado (Jerd Smith):

Colorado mountain snows, the primary source of the state’s annual water supplies, hit 102 percent of average this week, a bit of good news that hydrologists and forecasters were glad to embrace.

“If folks are looking for something to be grateful for now, a healthy water situation is on the list,” said Peter Goble, climate specialist at Colorado State University’s Colorado Climate Center.

Snowpack is measured across the state’s eight primary river basins. The highest numbers this week were found in the South Platte River Basin, home to such major cities as Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins. Here snowpack measured 112 percent of average.

The lowest readings occurred in southwestern Colorado, where snowpack in the San Miguel/Dolores Basin measured just 93 percent of average, according to the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) snow survey.

Colorado basin-filled snowpack map April 9, 2020 via the NRCS.

Colorado’s reservoirs are also showing strength, with most projected to fill. Storage levels this month were registering at 107 percent of average statewide.

Thanks to the pandemic, the teams of hydrologists who normally climb high into the mountains to manually measure the snow each month were tied to their desks, observing the stay-at-home order and relying on the state’s remote SNOTEL sites for data. Under normal circumstances, NRCS staff combine remote sensing data and field data to compile the critical monthly snow reports.

But Karl Wetlaufer, who leads the NRCS snow survey effort in Colorado, said his team was able to use additional modeling to help fill in the data gaps this month, and they’re working on a contingency plan for compiling their last major readings May 1.

“The mountain communities were among the hardest hit [by COVID-19], so we discontinued the manual measurements for April 1 to minimize any potential spread,” he said.

While snowpack and reservoirs are strong, forecasts for streamflows, which build as melting snow reaches streams, are expected to be below normal across southwestern and southeastern parts of the state.

Snowmelt that normally would reach the streams in a healthy water year is likely to be captured by soils that have dried out, thanks to ultra-dry weather late last summer and into the fall.

“We’re a bit worried about southeastern Colorado. Dryland farm operators are struggling because it was dry last fall and they had a dry winter,” Goble said, meaning there was little moisture to help crops such as winter wheat, produced without supplemental irrigation, grow.

In the Rio Grande River Basin, where snowpack is registering at 94 percent of average, farmers are hoping they will see more moisture in the spring to compensate for the below-average snowpack and dry soils.

“Streamflows are forecast at 70 percent of normal,” said Cleave Simpson, manager of the Rio Grande Water Conservation District in Alamosa. “It’s still better than 2018, but it’s not great.”

The broader Colorado River Basin, which stretches beyond state lines all the way into Mexico, is also expected to see below-normal streamflows, impacting major regional storage reservoirs, such as Blue Mesa in Colorado and Lake Powell in Utah and Arizona, which are likely to receive just 50 percent to 70 percent of normal inflows, respectively.

As a result, according to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the April-July inflow into Lake Powell is forecast to be just 78 percent of average. This is a critical number because it determines how Lake Powell will be managed this year, including how much water will be released to Arizona, California and Nevada and when.

Looking ahead, Goble said, forecasts indicate a slightly higher chance of drier, rather than wetter, weather from April through June, making it unlikely that those regions which are already beginning to dry out will see much relief.

Thanks to the lingering dry conditions, more than half of Colorado remains in drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, with portions of the southeastern and southwestern parts of the state classified as being in severe drought.

Jerd Smith is editor of Fresh Water News. She can be reached at 720-398-6474, via email at jerd@wateredco.org or @jerd_smith.

#Snowpack news: #SanJuanRiver Basin SWE = 80.4% of normal

From The Pagosa Springs Sun (Chris Mannara):

This week, snow water equivalency (SWE) is 25.9 inches. Last week, it was 26.4 inches.

The SWE median has increased, however, going from 31.7 inches to 32.2 inches this week.

This week, SWE data is 80.4 percent of median, compared to last week, when it was 83.3 percent of median.

This week, precipitation data is recorded at 26.5 inches. Last week, it was 25.9 inches.

The precipitation median has increased as well, going from 33.5 inches to 34 inches this week.
Precipitation data is 79.9 percent of median this week. Last week, it was 78.8 percent of median.

Westwide SNOTEL basin-filled map April 10, 2020 via the NRCS.

April 2020 “Confluence” newsletter is hot off the presses from @CWCB_DNR

Cache la Poudre River from South Trail via Wikimedia Foundation.

Click here to read the newsletter. Here’s an excerpt:

Governor Polis Signs Bill to Expand Voluntary Loans Process for Instream Flows

On March 20, Governor Jared Polis signed into law House Bill 1157 (HB20-1157), which provides additional tools to the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) for managing voluntary loans from water rights owners for the purposes of preserving and improving the natural environment… Read More

Aspinall Unit operations update: April 1st runoff forecast for Blue Mesa Reservoir predicts 78% of average for April-July inflows

Aspinall Unit dams

From email from Reclamation (Erik Knight):

Releases from the Aspinall Unit will be increased to 1450 cfs on Thursday, April 9th. Releases are being adjusted to accommodate the change in diversions to the Gunnison Tunnel, which will occur on Friday, April 10th. Snowpack in the Upper Gunnison Basin is currently at 101% of normal. The April 1st runoff forecast for Blue Mesa Reservoir predicts 78% of average for April-July inflows.

Flows in the lower Gunnison River are currently above the baseflow target of 1050 cfs. River flows are expected to stay above the baseflow target for the foreseeable future.

Pursuant to the Aspinall Unit Operations Record of Decision (ROD), the baseflow target in the lower Gunnison River, as measured at the Whitewater gage, is 1050 cfs for April and May.

Currently, Gunnison Tunnel diversions are 720 cfs and flows in the Gunnison River through the Black Canyon are around 430 cfs. After this release change Gunnison Tunnel diversions will be around 920 cfs and flows in the Gunnison River through the Black Canyon will be around 530 cfs. Current flow information is obtained from provisional data that may undergo revision subsequent to review.

@Northern_Water increases 2020 C-BT quota to 70 percent #ColoradoRiver #COriver #aridification

Screenshot of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project boundaries via Northern Water’s interactive mapping tool , June 5, 2019.

Here’s the release from the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District:

Above average regional water storage coupled with above average snowpack prompted the Northern Water Board of Directors to increase its 2020 quota allocation for the Colorado-Big Thompson Project to 70 percent.

The Board unanimously approved the allocation at its meeting Thursday, April 9, 2020, which was held via video to comply with state stay-at-home orders as part of the global coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Luke Shawcross, manager of the Water Resources Department at Northern Water, outlined snowpack and forecasted streamflows and discussed the available water supplies in regional reservoirs.

When setting the quota the Board considers current regional reservoir storage levels, forecasted snowpack runoff, availability of water within the C-BT system and public input.

The Board has been setting C-BT quota since 1957 and 70 percent is the most common quota declared. It was also the quota set for the 2019 water delivery season.

The quota increases available C-BT Project water supplies by 62,000 acre-feet from the initial 50 percent quota made available in November. Water from the C-BT Project supplements other sources for 33 cities and towns, 120 agricultural irrigation companies, various industries and other water users within Northern Water’s 1.6 million-acre service area. According to recent census figures, approximately 1 million residents now live inside Northern Water’s boundaries. To learn more about Northern Water and the C-BT quota, visit http://www.northernwater.org.

Six Feet in Solidarity – Week 4: Water Reuse — @WaterEdCO

From Water Education Colorado (Caitlin Coleman):

The Promise of Reuse

For decades, Colorado has been recycling water for landscaping purposes. More recent has been indirect potable reuse, where treated wastewater flows through an environmental buffer, such as a river, before being extracted for further treatment to make it suitable for drinking and other domestic uses.

Now, Colorado and several other water-stressed states are moving toward direct potable reuse. “Widespread development of potable reuse will be an important facet of closing the future water supply-demand gap,” said the Colorado Water Plan, published in 2015 in Chapter 6.3.2, the Water Supply Management-Reuse chapter, which includes information on reuse beginning on page 6-75.

Potable reuse most certainly won’t be a cure-all for Colorado’s water shortages. It’s just one potential tool in a kit, applicable for specialized settings. But wide adoption of direct potable reuse relies, at least in part, on adoption of state standards governing treatment processes and monitoring protocols. Read about it in “Purified” from our Fall 2018 issue of Headwaters magazine, which focused on water reuse.

Is Colorado working on state regulations to govern direct potable reuse?

Yes. A new report, crafted by a National Water Research Institute-organized panel of reuse experts, details potential Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment regulations for direct potable reuse (DPR), which isn’t addressed in current regulations.

The report is part of WateReuse Colorado’s efforts to follow up on the water plan, which said Colorado needed a clear regulatory framework on reuse if reuse is to help address the future water supply-demand gap.

Getting this framework in place will give utilities the certainty they need to pursue DPR, which is critical for optimizing supplies they already have, says Laura Belanger from Western Resource Advocates.

Read what the report says and next steps in Colorado in the story “Getting Closer to Governing Direct Potable Reuse” from the new Spring 2020 issue of Headwaters magazine.

How does reuse optimize water supplies?

Check out the graphic below to conceptualize the multiplying effect of reuse:

Graphic credit: Water Education Colorado

Is water reuse on the rise?

In February, 2019, WEco offered a webinar exploring this question. Watch it to hear local experts discuss why more communities are turning toward water reuse and what regulations, policies, or other next steps need to fall into place for water recycling to grow. Watch it here</a

Animas Valley gravel mine plans to close, go commercial — The Durango Herald

Lake Nighthorse and Durango March 2016 photo via Greg Hobbs.

From The Durango Herald (Jonathan Romeo):

Public worries about access point on Animas River

An inactive gravel mine in the Animas Valley plans to formally shut down and repurpose the land for a large-scale commercial development. The move has some in the rafting community wondering what will become of a popular river put-in along the Animas River.

For the past few years, the nearly 50-acre gravel mine owned by Four Corners Materials, Inc. at 876 Trimble Lane (County Road 252), near Trimble Crossing and along the Animas River, has sat idle.

On Thursday, however, the owners requested a change in land-use designation for the property, from industrial to commercial, which would allow a range of new developments on the land…

The main issue at a La Plata County Planning Commission meeting Thursday was the fate of the river access point to the Animas River, just downstream of the Trimble bridge.

The boat ramp is privately owned by Four Corners Materials, but for years, the company has allowed the public to access the Animas.

During public comment, residents worried future development plans would close off the access point.

Kent Ford, a professional kayaker who lives in Durango, stressed the importance of the boat ramp, which is the only take-out for boaters who run the Animas down from Bakers Bridge, and the only put-in for river runners traveling to Oxbow Park or 32nd Street.

TomTalks Episode 1: Italy, Colorado, and their Water Connection — @OWOW_MSUDenver

From the One World One Water Center at Metropolitan State University of Denver:

The OWOW Center has launched a new series of educational videos to help us all feel a bit more connected during this very disconnected time. Every couple weeks Tom Cech will sit down with experts, some new faces and some you may recognize, to discuss and dissect the many facets of water in Colorado and around the world. So top off your water bottle and join us for the very first episode of TomTalks!

Tom Cech, co-director of the One World One Water Center at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Source: University of California, Berkeley

As oil crashes, ‘America’s untapped energy giant’ could rise — Grist #ActOnClimate #KeepItInTheGround

Geothermal Electrical Generation concept — via the British Geological Survey

From Grist (Emily Pontecorvo):

The coronavirus pandemic has mostly yielded bad news for renewable energy. Disruptions to supply chains and slowdowns in permitting and construction have delayed solar and wind projects, endangering their eligibility for the soon-to-expire investment tax credits they rely on. There’s another form of renewable energy, however, that might see a benefit from the recent global economic upheaval and emerge in a better position to help the United States decarbonize its electricity system: geothermal…

Unlike wind and the sun, subsurface heat is available 24/7, perpetually replenished by the radioactive decay of minerals deeper down. But compared to wind and solar farms, geothermal power plants are expensive to build. The cost can range from $2,000 to $5,000 per installed kilowatt, and even the least expensive geothermal plant in the U.S. costs more than double that of a utility-scale solar farm. Engineers have to drill thousands of feet into the ground to reach reservoirs of water and rock hotter than 300 degrees F in order for the plants to be economical. Plants generate electricity by pumping steam or hot water up from those reservoirs to spin a turbine which powers a generator.

Experts told Grist that drilling can account for anywhere between 25 to 70 percent of the cost of a project, depending on where it is, the method of drilling, and the equipment required. But now, the companies that supply the machinery and services for drilling are starting to slash rates.

That’s because they are the same suppliers the oil industry uses, but oil companies are idling drilling rigs and cutting contracts left and right. They’re getting pummeled by the largest oil price crash in decades, the result of plunging demand due to the pandemic and a glut in supply because of a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia. On Tuesday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration revised its short-term outlook for crude oil production, predicting a steep decline through 2021. All of the suppliers who are normally digging for oil are now eager for new business.

Tim Latimer, a former drilling engineer for the oil and gas industry and now the cofounder and CEO of Fervo Energy, a geothermal energy company (and a 2020 Grist 50 Fixer) said suppliers have already been willing to knock 10 percent off quotes they gave him a few weeks ago. In a recent Twitter thread, Latimer predicted that drilling costs could drop by as much as 20 to 40 percent. On top of that, interest rates are down, and recovery bills with new funding for clean energy are potentially around the corner.

Lowering the up-front cost of building a geothermal power plant would allow plant operators to bring down electricity prices, which could attract new interest in geothermal from utilities. “If you can bring that price down even a little bit,” Latimer said, utility buyers “get a lot more excited about it because they want to have something in their portfolio that can produce electricity at night.”

In California, which has set a target of 100 percent clean electricity by 2045, energy providers are starting to recognize the benefits of geothermal’s round-the-clock power and have agreed to purchase power from two new plants being built in the state. But in states where there isn’t as much pressure to decarbonize, it’s a tough sell: The cost of electrons from a geothermal plant can be more than three times as high as those from solar and wind.

Part of the problem, according to Susan Petty, the chief technology officer, president, and co-founder of geothermal company AltaRock Energy, is that utilities don’t place extra value on geothermal’s ability to generate electricity all the time. She said bringing drilling costs down will help, but it would help even more if there were parity in the tax incentives for renewables: This year, geothermal electricity projects were eligible for a 10 percent investment tax credit, compared to a 26 percent credit for solar and wind.

Geothermal faces other hurdles, like a lengthy permitting process that stretches out project timelines. It can be challenging to find investors during the early, risky stages of a project, before the viability of developing a given site has been proven. Geothermal also suffers from a PR problem — people just aren’t as familiar with it as they are with wind and solar. The technology has been around in the U.S. since the 1960s, but for these reasons and others, geothermal still only makes up 0.4 percent of the U.S. electricity mix.

Map of Western US geotthermal areas via the USGS

Feds approve drilling plan for North Fork Valley that endangers communities — Western Slope Conservation Center #ActOnClimate #KeepItInTheGround

Courtesy of EcoFlight via The High Country News.

Here’s the release from the Western Slope Conservation Center (Ben Katz):

[On February 10, 2020]…the Bureau of Land Management released its Uncompahgre Field Office Resource Management Plan despite concerns and formal protests from stakeholders in the North Fork Valley and beyond. While Colorado’s governor and the public are focused on a major health crisis in the state, the BLM released a plan that could open up 95% of the public lands in the area to oil and gas development, threatening local farmers and businesses in the region.

Community leaders say the plan fails to protect public health, provide ecological well-being, or promote a sustainable rural economy on Colorado’s Western Slope. These leaders say that at a time when small businesses are shutting their doors and communities of the rural Western Slope are telling visitors to stay away, the Trump Administration should not be barreling forward with land use planning that harms our community and environment.

The final plan, which the BLM began revising in 2010, is meant to guide all activities and development in the Uncompahgre Field Office planning area for the next two decades. Today we see the final plan opens the entirety of the North Fork Valley to oil and gas leasing and development while removing or limiting critical protections to safeguard the local community’s air, water, wilderness, and wildlife. Despite making minor changes at the request of Governor Polis, the plan is dramatically out of step with the protections local residents have requested for a decade.

The most disappointing aspect of the final plan is that it undermines years of collaboration and local engagement, completely disregarding a community crafted plan for the North Fork Valley. In 2014, a diverse group of North Fork stakeholders, including agricultural, tourism, realty, business, and conservation organizations, came together and developed a “community alternative” – essentially a locally grown vision and set of guidelines – for oil and gas management in the area. Called the North Fork Alternative Plan, the balanced proposal would allow for the consideration of regulated energy development on up to 25 percent of the area’s federal lands with additional protections for lands important to hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation activities. The agency’s final plan ignores this community proposal, and in turn, dismisses the community’s own vision for a sustainable future and diverse economy.

Recently released documents by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) through the Freedom of Information Act show beyond a doubt the final plan is the result of political maneuvering by the Trump administration to impose its “energy dominance” agenda on Colorado. The internal documents acquired by PEER reveal that Trump administration officials at the national BLM office overruled local agency staff and ignored local public input in order to “align the preferred alternative with administration priorities” such as deregulation of the oil and gas industry. Ironically, this decision comes at a time when the BLM is relocating its headquarters from Washington, DC to Grand Junction ostensibly to allegedly “delegate more responsibility to the field,” according to acting BLM Director William Perry Pendley.

The following are quotes from several organizations and stakeholders who have been working for decades to advance conservation efforts in Colorado and have been participating in the BLM UFO RMP revision process:

“An administration that supports a resilient local economy wouldn’t move forward with a plan that clearly disrespects the best interests of the North Fork community, yet this is exactly what’s happening. This plan is a triple threat: it ignores a decade’s worth of community input, it undermines our economic future, and it endangers the very public lands and waters that our local farms, ranches, vineyards, and recreation businesses depend on. As Colorado’s Western Slope residents and the rest of the country battle with a national emergency, the BLM is charging ahead to open lands that aren’t essential for the country’s oil and gas resources. Kicking our small businesses and communities while they’re down is just plain shameful.” – Patrick Dooling, Executive Director, Western Slope Conservation Center

“It’s disgraceful that Secretary Bernhardt and BLM Acting Director William Perry Pendley are using the COVID-19 pandemic as cover for their continued efforts to sell out our public lands. Coloradans are rightfully focused on the health and safety of our loved ones during this trying time, yet the BLM is jeopardizing the livelihoods of farmers and business owners who depend on this region’s beautiful land and pristine water. Opening 95% of the lands in this area to potential development shows that the administration puts drilling above all else, no matter the cost to air, water or people’s way of life, or even our health.” – Jim Ramey, Colorado State Director, The Wilderness Society

“The Trump administration dropping this broadly opposed plan now, in the midst of a pandemic, only adds insult to the deep injury many North Fork farms and businesses are already suffering. We came together as a community and presented a plan to the BLM, which it has ignored in releasing this mess. We worked in good faith and that was betrayed, but we’re not done standing up for our farms and families.” – Pete Kolbenschlag, Executive Director, Colorado Farm & Food Alliance

“I grow food in the farm-to-table capital of Colorado, the Lower Gunnison watershed. Over the past nearly ten years I’ve worked to identify to the BLM what I need them to consider as they make their land-use decisions for the lands around and upstream of me. For my farm, and the nearly 100 other Valley Organic Growers Association (VOGA) producers in this valley, this means clean air, clean water, and an understanding that our reputation for clean delicious food is easily destroyed. I am disappointed that the BLM has ignored the agricultural community of the North Fork in its RMP, and has failed to listen to and consider the input we’ve worked hard to give them.”- Mark Waltermire, owner, Thistle Whistle Farms

“The North Fork Valley has felt the impacts of oil and gas development on our local economy before and has successfully diversified its economy away from fossil fuel development. The real estate markets were thriving prior to COVID-19 and are holding steady with buyers continuing to close on properties they completed contracts on prior to the statewide lockdown. With this impending plan, the BLM is sending our community backwards, setting us up to be at the whims of the oil and gas industry development and threatening the local economy. At a time when we can’t even show homes or hold open houses due to COVID-19, the release of this plan feels like salt in the wound.” – Patti Kaech, Broker/Owner, Colorado Premier Partners Realty

“When the coal mines began to close, everyone said the sky was falling. Yet, we worked hard to build and diversify our local economy based on local business, renewable energy, sustainable outdoor recreation, and organic farming. We are stronger now and people are moving here to embrace this way of living, not to be surrounded by industrial oil and gas development. Despite that, the energy-dominance agenda the BLM has in mind is at odds with our vision of the future. Furthermore,the Trump Administration says they are here to help small businesses, yet seem to put another nail in our coffin at this unprecedented time. The BLM needs to re-engage with the community and develop a plan to protect the public lands in the North Fork Valley that support our diverse economy.” – Chelsea Bookout, co-owner, Remedy Juice and Cafe

“Right now, we have the opportunity to bolster a sustainable and long term recreation industry in the Lower Gunnison watershed. We have the wildlands, the community, and the ambition needed to develop and maintain a strong recreation sector of the local economy. Turning the valley into a short term oil and gas haven is not compatible with this local vision. The BLM must listen to the communities who will be most affected by this decision.” – Sven Edstrom, Chair, Delta Area Mountain Bikers

“President Trump has failed to take charge in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, instead leaving it to the Governors to figure it out. But as the documents acquired by PEER show, when it comes to oil and gas development and the UFO RMP, his administration is quick to overrule local wishes. The Bureau of Land Management must go back to the drawing board and consider the vision of local communities, and their own experts, in this planning process.” – Chandra Rosenthal, Rocky Mountain Director, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility

“The BLM’s Uncompahgre plan is a terrible disservice to conservation and support of local economies transitioning to sustainable recreation and agriculture. Secretary Bernhardt and acting BLM director William Perry Pendley have overwritten the locally-developed earlier plan to strip out conservation protections for wildlands and to grease the skids for their friends in the oil and gas and mining industries. Our public lands and local communities like Naturita and Hotchkiss will suffer the impacts.” – Scott Braden, Director, Colorado Wildlands Project