Environmental news briefs | VailDaily.com

Environmental news briefs

Nicole Frey

DENVER – A bill recently signed by Gov. Bill Owens will provide funding to a new Colorado renewable energy research collaboration between the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Colorado School of Mines, Colorado State University and the University of Colorado.

All four have worked together since March to create the Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory. Starting in 2007, the Collaboratory will receive up to $2 million each year for three years to be used only as matching funds to allow the organization to qualify for federal and private research projects.

The law requires the Collaboratory to repay money used as matching funds when it earns income from technologies developed and transferred to private industry.

Participants hope this research-and-technology transfer program will attract new renewable-energy enterprises to Colorado. Renewable energy includes a range of current and potential energy sources, including solar and wind power; biofuels that can be produced from agricultural crops and forest products, such as ethanol and biodiesel; geothermal energy from beneath the Earth’s surface; hydrogen fuel cells; and other emerging technologies.

Federal, state and private investments in renewable energy research have been on the rise.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – The fire restrictions enacted on the White River National Forest on June 21 were removed Wednesday, Aug. 2.

Chris Farinetti, operations specialist for the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit, said heavy rain in the High Country prompted lifting the ban. With the restrictions lifted, campers may now set up fires in places other designated fire grates in developed campgrounds.

The White River National Forest is joining several other forests and counties in Colorado in lifting restrictions, including the Arapahoe/Roosevelt National Forest; the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forest; the Pike/San Isabel National Forest; and Routt County.

Fire restrictions are still in place for the Bureau of Land Management’s Grand Junction and Glenwood Springs field offices, as well as in Eagle, Garfield, Pitkin and Mesa counties.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” The White River National Forest and neighboring Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison national forests introduced a new public affairs person in July.

Lee Ann Loupe replaced Matt Glasgow and Sue Freoschle as the public affairs officer for all of these forests. Glasgow and Freoschle both retired last year. Loupe, who will be based in Grand Junction, comes to Colorado from the Hiawatha National Forest in northern Michigan where she served as the public and legislative affairs Officer for 10 years.

“The forests decided to share a public affairs officer because we really work on a lot of the same issues,” said Charlie Richmond, the forest supervisor of the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison national forests.

The new public affairs organization for the forests will consist of Loupe and two public affairs specialist, one for the White River and another for the remaining three. The specialist position for the White River National Forest was recently filled by Sally Spaulding, who replaced Kristi Ponozzo. Ponozzo resigned to pursue her master’s degree.

WASHINGTON D.C – Conservationists recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of a legislative move they say saved thousands of trees from logging.

Ten years ago, on August 1, 1996, Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman informed Congress that more than 200 logging projects threatening national forests would be canceled. The little-known decision, intended to mitigate harmful impacts to water quality and wildlife, marked a turning point in how federal officials managed the nation’s remaining wild forests.

A previous law, known as the “Salvage Logging Rider,” had suspended all environmental laws (except the Endangered Species Act) for salvage logging from July 1995 until December 2006 citing a “forest health emergency.” The Rider opened hundreds of old-growth areas in the Pacific Northwest to cutting.

Staff Writer Nicole Frey can be reached at 748-2927 or nfrey@vaildaily.com.

Vail, Colorado

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