Energy

Creative Commons Zero - CC0 / Pixabay

The Trump administration just relaxed Obama-era industry regulations for methane leaks from oil and gas operations on federal lands. But reactions to the change in the Mountain West are mixed.  

Creative Commons 2.0 / Bureau of Reclamation

A new study reveals how much water the U.S. uses in energy production. The answer is a lot – 58 trillion gallons. The data breakdown may be critical information for the Mountain West, where energy industries are big, but water can be scarce.

It's a bright, cloudless day in Gillette, Wyoming as a long train passes by overflowing with coal. Huge, open-pit mines dot the perimeter of a light-blue coal-fired power plant. Inside, a turbine is making the building rumble with its constant hum of producing electricity. It's supplying power to the entire western grid.

The Trump administration announced a new rule on greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants, called the ‘Affordable Clean Energy Rule.’ It would put regulatory power in states’ hands.

The Obama administration had previously tried to enact something called the Clean Power Plan, which was considered the country’s primary strategy for lowering emissions to meet its 2030 target under the Paris climate agreement.

The Bureau of Land Management has issued draft proposals outlining the uses the federal government wants to allow in the Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears national monuments in southern Utah.

As Colorado’s population has grown, so has the oil and gas industry. Its presence is an unavoidable part of the landscape. That’s why volunteer Patricia Nelson said she has spent part of her summer collecting signatures for Initiative 97.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed an executive order this week requiring that abandoned oil and gas equipment be plugged up or removed. 

The move comes about a year after an old natural gas pipeline leaked methane into a home in Firestone, Colorado. The home exploded, killing two people and injuring another.

The Bureau of Land Management planned to lease about 18,000 acres of land in southern Colorado for oil and gas drilling. Now, the bureau says it’s holding off so it can consult with the Navajo Nation.

Ranking U.S. House Democrats are calling for an ethics investigation into Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. They want to know more about a land deal between Zinke’s family foundation and a real estate project with ties to the oil and gas giant Halliburton.


Oil operations in Alaska are specially designed for freezing conditions. But as the climate changes, the state is warming twice as fast as the rest of the country. That poses a challenge for the oil industry, and a boon for Alaska businesses that are creating products to help it cope.

Brian Shumaker is one such entrepreneur who knows how tricky it can be to operate in the Arctic, where he once did some engineering work for oil companies.

Voices continue to mount against the Trump administration's plan to lease land for oil drilling near the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in Colorado. The Bureau of Land Management plans to lease more than 20,000 acres of land starting in early September, some of which comes within a mile of the park.

Over the last decade or so, states in the Mountain West region have used less and less coal to make electricity. Wind is one of the energy sources replacing it.

Colorado’s biggest wind farm is set to be completed by this fall — and it might even help keep a piece of state history intact.

President Trump just dismantled policies requiring federal agencies reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions and meet other environmental targets.


Greg Goebel / Creative Commons

It’s an international agreement but Trump's decision to leave the nuclear deal with Iran could be felt in our region for good and for bad.

Within seconds, a bright, white flash erupted on the lower deck of West Delta 105 E, an oil-production platform positioned a dozen miles off the Louisiana coast. Disoriented, one crew member found himself 10 feet away from where he had been working before he blacked out. Another likened the impact to a sledgehammer blow to his head. A third told investigators he felt like he'd been hit by an 18-wheeler, his hard hat, glasses and earplugs knocked off in the blast.

The Bureau of Land Management plans to put up more than 20,000 acres of Colorado land for lease by oil and gas drilling companies. Much of that land sits near the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.

States like Colorado and Wyoming require that new oil and gas wells be built at least 500 feet away from existing homes. But new research shows that might not be far enough away to protect people’s health.

If it weren’t for the snowy alpine peaks in the background, camels would look perfectly at home in the undulating yellow sand hills of Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.

“It’s really a very special place. And it is very unusual. It’s almost like an alien landscape when you happen upon it,” says Vanessa Mazal, who has been visiting the national park since she was a kid and now works with the National Parks Conservation Association.

ED SUOMINEN / FLICKR ALL CREATIVE COMMONS

 

The federal Clean Power Plan is currently on hold due to various legal challenges. Not one of the Attorneys General from the Mountain West States has signed on to a brief by a coalition of states supporting the plan.

Andrea Chalfin / 91.5 KRCC

Colorado Springs Utilities is researching the possibility of closing its Martin Drake Power Plant sooner than a previously established 2035 deadline. Early results from a new survey suggest public support for such a move.

Colorado is a resilient state. The unemployment rate is among the lowest in the nation and the population along the Front Range is booming. It’s easy to see the impact of a strong economy in Denver. Construction cranes are up all over the city and it’s harder than ever to find affordable housing.

But it’s a different story in many parts of western Colorado.

TransCanada, the company behind the Keystone XL oil pipeline, is scheduled to go before the Nebraska Public Service Commission next week, the final hurdle before the agency decides whether the pipeline’s path should be approved.

Hickenlooper file photo

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed an executive order Tuesday aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other climate goals.  Hickenlooper also says the state will join the U. S. Climate Alliance, which is a group of states looking to uphold the Paris Climate Accord.  President Donald Trump withdrew from the Paris Accord earlier this year.

Bente Birkeland / Capitol Coverage

Governor John Hickenlooper wants the state to reevaluate how it inspects oil and gas wells in the wake of a fatal home explosion in Firestone. An oil and gas flow line was found to be severed and leaking methane and other gases. Two people died and another was critically injured in the explosion.  

91.5 KRCC

Colorado energy regulators are trying to quell the public's fears after a house built near an oil and gas well exploded, killing two men. The explosion happened in the small community of Firestone, thirty miles north of Denver, where oil and gas wells are common.  State officials are still investigating the explosion and don't know what caused it.

Pueblo Could Aim for 100% Renewable Energy

Feb 13, 2017
Ed Suominen / FLICKR All creative Commons

Pueblo City Council is scheduled to vote on a resolution today that places a goal of 100% renewable energy by 2035.

Quinn Dombrowski / Flickr - Creative Commons

The governors of Colorado, Utah, and Nevada have announced intentions to create an electric vehicle charging network on interstate highways throughout those three states.

USAFA Gets Energy Efficient, Reality TV Style

Nov 30, 2016
US Department of Energy / Screengrab: Better Buildings Challenge SWAP

The U.S. Air Force Academy is engaging in some friendly competition with the Naval Academy in Maryland to see who can become more energy efficient. It's all part of a Department of Energy reality show called Better Buildings Challenge SWAP.

New Report Celebrates Sustainability Achievement

Oct 11, 2016
Peak Alliance for a Sustainable Future

A recently released sustainability report celebrates environmental and cultural action in the Pikes Peak region.   

Tuesday Newscast, 5/17/16, 07:04 AM

May 17, 2016

Newscast for Tuesday, May 17, 2016, 7:04 AM:
 


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