Environment

MOAB — About 40 miles north from the tourist hordes in town and set against a backdrop of tan clay and red mesas, the vista looked primed for a nature magazine cover shoot: early afternoon, the desert bloom in full force, awash with purple and yellow flowers. Quiet.

It's been more than thirty years since Yucca Mountain in Nevada was picked as the nation's nuclear waste site, and the state has been fighting the project ever since. Under President Obama, it got its wish.

Fast forward to the Trump administration, and that long-running debate is back on the table.

USDA

Global methane in the atmosphere is on the rise again after a period of leveling off, but scientists tracking this phenomenon at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, in Boulder haven’t quite figured out why. 

Dan Elliott / Associated Press

Governor Jared Polis has signed a bill giving local governments more control over oil and gas drilling operations. 

Liam Neupert

Students went on strike Friday, March 15, in more than 100 countries around the world and every state in the Mountain West region. They want action on climate change.

A report out Monday from environmental groups looked at groundwater contamination from coal-fired power plants. Three of the worst sites are located in the Mountain West.

Coal ash is the solid waste leftover when you burn coal. It often gets mixed with water and washed into a pit — an ash pond. If the base of a pond isn’t properly sealed, pollutants in the mix can make their way into groundwater.

Imagine a swarm of big, black birds flying overhead at dusk. No, it’s not a scene from a Hitchcock film. This is Nampa, Idaho — a small community that’s become the winter home for tens of thousands of crows. They are noisy and messy, and Nampa residents are pushing back.

 


In an interview with the Washington Post published online Tuesday, President Trump brushed aside climate change concerns by hailing the state of the environment in the United States.

New cars sold in Colorado will have to run cleaner and average 36 miles per gallon by 2025 thanks to new emission rules adopted Friday.

The move was supported by ski areas and other businesses that have called on the state to take steps to combat the effects of greenhouse gases and climate change.

But some local government leaders and auto dealers in the state are afraid these new rules will have unintended consequences.

Pierre Grand / Flickr Creative Commons

The effects of the current drought in Colorado are hard to miss—water levels are down in rivers and reservoirs. Hay prices skyrocketed over the summer. Wildfires have been fueled by dry conditions and a lack of moisture. But the drought has also caused problems for pollinators, specifically, honeybees. 91.5 KRCC’s Abigail Beckman spoke with Mike Halby of the Pikes Peak Beekeepers Association about how honeybees - both wild domestic - fare when things dry out…

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.  

A warming world could eventually make some of our most familiar ecosystems — deciduous forests, grasslands, Arctic tundra — unrecognizable.

That's the conclusion of a team of more than 40 scientists who took a novel approach to predicting the effects of how human-caused global warming will alter ecosystems. They looked about 20,000 years back in time.

In an open field in Longmont, Colorado, about a dozen people crouched in the tall grass, moving slowly and deliberately through mud that squelched underfoot. Some carried huge, serrated knives called hori-hori, a Japanese tool made specifically for gutting weeds. Others wielded gardening shears, saws or chemical sprays as their weapons of choice.

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.

The Trump administration’s plans to cut red tape on environmental projects is getting predictably mixed reviews.

Photo by Sierra Coon / Canyonlands National Park

Many are calling it far-fetched, but a mountain west entrepreneur is reviving a proposal to draw water from Utah's Green River and funnel it to Colorado's growing and drought-prone Front Range. The pipeline would move billions of gallons of water across hundreds of miles from Utah through Wyoming and down into Colorado.

Update 10-23-17: The Colorado Attorney General's Office has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit brought by Deep Green Resistance on behalf of the Colorado River ecosystem. The story has been updated to reflect this development.

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A few months ago Denver civil rights lawyer Jason Flores-Williams had an idea. He’s made a name for himself recently in a class action lawsuit against the city of Denver where he’s representing the city’s homeless people.

“A lot of times I meet with class members, I take them out to dinner because they’re starving,” he said.

While at a Denver Mexican restaurant, the group started talking about homelessness. One of his homeless clients piped up.

“In an off the cuff, offhand comment [he] said, ‘the only thing more homeless than the homeless is nature,’” Flores-Williams recalled.

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.

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.

Few inventions in modern history have been as successful as plastic. It's in vehicles and building materials and most of our electronic devices. We wrap stuff in it and even wear it.

Now a research team has tallied up how much plastic has been produced and where much of it has gone. Turns out, it's literally almost everywhere.

Carol M. Highsmith / Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, photograph by Carol M. Highsmith [LC-DIG-highsm-11937]

Efforts to manage and preserve the Colorado River are getting a boost from the Walton Family Foundation, which has pledged $20 million over the next two years to fund projects aimed at water conservation and restoring river ecosystems.

Bente Birkeland / Capitol Coverage

 

During the legislative session, state lawmakers cut funding for the office that oversees weatherization and other energy saving programs for residents. Now, Gov. John Hickenlooper is asking the Joint Budget Committee to intervene to save the Colorado Energy Office, avoiding possible layoffs and program closures and delays.

NOAA Historic Photo Library / NOAA

Peak Curiosity is a new, community-driven reporting series from 91.5 KRCC. We ask listeners to submit their questions about the Pikes Peak region and Southern Colorado, and then we answer them. Scroll down to the bottom of this post to submit your question!

Courtesy: Bessamer Historical Society

Toxin levels at two south Pueblo parks within the Colorado Smelter Superfund area are normal, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection, [LC-USF343-001617-ZE] / Library of Congress

A new study looked into what would happen if the modern agricultural industry was to experience a 1930s Dust Bowl style event.

Malika Ladak / Flickr-Creative Commons

The Colorado State Forest Service is reminding folks to keep up with watering their trees throughout the winter.

Dana Cronin / 91.5 KRCC

Colorado is known for its iconic 14,000-foot peaks, more commonly known as fourteeners. Despite their majestic appearance, these high peaks have a fragile ecosystem and it takes a considerable amount of effort to keep them in good condition.  The season is over now, but for about five months of the year, crews work to create and repair trails.

Mobile App Encourages Outdoor Stewardship

Oct 13, 2016
Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado

A new mobile app looks to incentivize users to help out the environment.

The app, called YourCO, will allow users to log do-it-yourself conservation projects, such as picking up trash or turning down the thermostat, and earn badges and rewards along the way.

Wednesday Newscast, 9/16/15, 5:32 PM

Sep 16, 2015

Newscast for Wednesday, September 16, 2015, 5:32 PM:

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