Fossil fuels don’t support our communities, or yours: The transition to #renewableenergy does not have to mean economic instability. We see it as economic opportunity — #Colorado Newsline #ActOnClimate

Communities across Colorado have been subjected to decades of fossil fuel greenwashing. Meanwhile, disproportionately impacted communities with cumulative impacts of pollution have suffered in silence.

Millions of dollars worth of propaganda in radio, television and newspaper advertisements have attempted for years to portray oil and gas as an economic champion of development benefitting Colorado’s land, water and people; these companies will donate a new scoreboard to a local high school, buy a table at the local charity event, and claim to support local economies. All the while they deliberately ignore their responsibility to the health and safety of our people.

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The latest effort, Coloradans for Energy Access, also fails to authentically include meaningful representation of disproportionately impacted communities and any community-based organization actually focused on improving lives in historically marginalized and targeted communities in environmental sacrifice zones.

Instead, they’re employing scare tactics about alleged loss of economic stability of diverse communities. For years, oil and gas companies have participated in an unrelenting campaign to frighten the public into believing that life as we know it would end if oil and gas companies were overly regulated and monitored; companies would simply pull up their rigs and disappear. No cars, no heat, etc. Well, that’s a little extreme, but it is another way they try to pull the wool over our eyes.

We are in a transition away from fossil fuels and that’s a good thing for our health, equity, our climate and, yes, our economy. That transition will not happen overnight, but we are well on our way and now is the time to figure out how to make that transition just, equitable and fair for everyone across the state.

Could it be that the people who make money selling gas want to keep us all hooked on gas?

In reality, global energy markets are more directly responsible for current price increases. The companies don’t like to see those worldwide price increases because it means less profit for their executives and shareholders. Fossil fuel prices are going up because of a collective worldwide transition away from these polluting, toxic forms of energy production. Industry talking heads and apologists also claimed renewable energy production would be too costly. But now new wind and solar is cheaper than coal and on par with gas. We are also now seeing industry make the similar claim that switching homes and other buildings to utilize more electricity will again cause prices to skyrocket. Could it be that the people who make money selling gas want to keep us all hooked on gas? Have they forgotten we are all connected in our biosphere including our air, land, and water quality?

The fact is — which industry denies — renewable energy is more affordable, is healthier for future generations and the biosphere, especially those who live in “diesel death zones” and other polluted communities, and helps Colorado’s economy thrive with an awareness of industries’ predatory behaviors.

If industry truly cared about the health and safety of people and the environment, it would not be insisting that gas is safe to be used in our homes. Research continues to find that gas stoves emit dangerous levels of nitrogen dioxide and those indoor emissions are largely unregulated. It seems that there is no reprieve from the pollution — indoors or outdoors and that we all need to transition away from fossil fuels sooner rather than later.

We don’t see the transition to clean, renewable energy as economic disruption. We see this as economic opportunity for everyone and a way to restore resources for future generations. We will continue to work toward a just and equitable transition.

If fossil fuel companies want to show us they care about this transition for everyone, they’ll come meet us in our communities. We’ll be the ones doing the work to heal and protect.

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Colorado Newsline is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Colorado Newsline maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Quentin Young for questions: info@coloradonewsline.com. Follow Colorado Newsline on Facebook and Twitter.

‘Where’s the water coming from?’: As #Colorado eyes asserting #water rights on the #SouthPlatteRiver, #Nebraska looks at securing its own — The North Platte Telegraph #COleg

The South Platte Hotel building that sits at the Two Forks site, where the North and South forks of the South Platte River come together. Photo: Brent Gardner-Smith/Aspen Journalism

From From The North Platte Telegraph (Todd von Kampen):

Here’s the other question: “Where’s the water coming from?”

That may be the greater mystery in Keith and Lincoln counties, whose residents usually see bare trickles in the South Platte — except for four floods since 1995 — and know it’s due to Colorado agriculture and ever-growing Denver and the Front Range.

Despite all that growth, Nebraska and Colorado water officials agree, there’s still South Platte water to talk about.

Counting “return flows” from upstream irrigators, a recent Colorado study contended, Nebraska receives enough South Platte water at the state line northeast of Julesburg to fill Lake Maloney 15 times…

The Legislature’s Natural Resources Committee will hold a public hearing at 1:30 p.m. CT Wednesday [Februay 9, 2022] on Legislative Bill 1015. It would set aside $500 million to finish the Perkins canal, whether or not Nebraska routes it into Perkins County.

Its hearing follows the Colorado Legislature’s introduction of a bill late last week to make South Platte water storage that state’s top priority for water projects.

Senate Bill 22-126 says it’s intended to boost “the beneficial consumptive use of Colorado’s undeveloped waters to which Colorado is entitled under the South Platte River Compact,” as well as to reduce the need for transferring water east across the Rockies…

Jesse Bradley, assistant director of the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, said his department has barely begun to explore how such a canal gets built in 2022.

But the evidence suggests Nebraska should invoke its compact rights before it’s too late, Bradley said…

Rein and Lauren Ris, deputy director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board, said their state’s water officials are still seeking to clarify Nebraska’s concerns. Both spoke with The Telegraph before Colorado lawmakers introduced their bill to make South Platte projects the state’s top priority.

Ris said the 282-project list comes from her board’s online database of hoped-for water projects by local “roundtables” in each of Colorado’s nine river basins…

But the vast majority of those, she said, are studies and other projects that won’t sink a well or move dirt for a new water project.

Very few of them — and none between Brush and the Nebraska line — are even close to seeking major funding, Ris added…

The far larger Parker project, touching both Logan and Washington counties, would create two reservoirs as well as a pipeline. Parker lies about 107 miles southwest of Sterling and 89 miles southwest of Akron, the counties’ respective seats.

The Pagosa Area Water & Sanitation District board to vote on #TABOR ballot resolution — The #PagosaSprings Sun

View to the south into the snaking West Fork of the San Juan River as seen from US 160, halfway up to the summit of Wolf Creek Pass. By User:Erikvoss, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=61976794

From The Pagosa Springs Sun (Clayton Chaney):

At its next regular meeting, the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD) Board of Direc- tors will be voting on a new Tax- payer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) ballot resolution, which, if approved by voters, will allow the district to receive an unrestricted amount in grant funding, according to District Manager Justin Ramsey.

Ramsey explained in an interview that under TABOR, the district
is limited to the amount of grant money it can receive, which is a percentage based on the district’s annual budget. He estimated that to be at 10 percent.

“The only thing it changes is our availability to receive grants,” he added. “It will have zero effect on mill levies.”

He explained that the resolution would remove any restriction on the district’s ability to receive grant funding…

If the board votes to approve the ballot issue, district voters will be able to vote on the issue during the district’s regular election slated for May 3…

Smith indicates in his responses, also published in the Jan. 27 edition of The SUN, that the district’s Water Enterprise Fund is expected to have an increase in expenditures of 31 percent in 2022.

Smith also notes that engineering costs for rebuilding the Snowball water plant, new state and federal mandates, along with inflation and costs of materials will cause expenditures to rise.

Ramsey indicates in his response that the Snowball water
plant will be rebuilt and up and running in 2024.

Smith also notes in his response that the district’s Wastewater Enterprise Fund is projected to increase by 29 percent, also due to state and federal regulations.

“Due to some state and federally mandated regulations PAWSD will need to spend several million dol- lars on capital improvements. To take advantage of some of the cur- rent grant opportunities PAWSD will be asking voters to rescind a portion of the TABOR require- ments.” Ramsey wrote.

He also explains that the district will hold in place the property tax limitations but ask to rescind the limitations on grants…

The next regular PAWSD board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 10, at 5 p.m. The meeting will be held both in person at the district office located at 100 Lyn Ave. and virtually via Zoom. Login information for the meeting can be found online at: https://www.pawsd.org/district-business/public-meetings/.

#SanJuanRiver headwaters #snowpack report — The #PagosaSprings Sun #ColoradoRiver #COriver #aridification

From The Pagosa Springs Sun (Clayton Chaney):

More snow fell over Pagosa Coun- try this week as a winter storm warn- ing was issued for the area by the National Weather Service (NWS) on Tuesday at 5 p.m. and lasted through Wednesday until midnight today, Thursday, Feb. 3…

As of 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 2, Wolf Creek Ski Area reported 14 inches of new snow since 4 p.m. on Tuesday. This snowfall brings the season total at the ski area to 238 inches…

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Water and Climate Center’s snowpack report, the Wolf Creek summit, at 11,000 feet of elevation, had 24.1 inches of snow water equivalent as of 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 2. That amount is 125 percent of that date’s median snow water equivalent.

The San Miguel, Dolores, Animas and San Juan river basins were at 103 percent of the Feb. 2 median in terms of snowpack.

San Juan River Basin. Graphic credit Wikipedia.