Green building conference set for Teton
The 3rd Annual Teton Green Building Conference will take place at Jackson Lake Lodge, Wyo., in Grand Teton National Park. From May 24 through 26, this primer for developers, architects, engineers, designers and builders will focus on the essentials of environmentally responsible building. Topics include global warming, energy-efficient homes and sustainable resources. Both educational lectures and hands-on workshops will prepare teams to plan for sustainable green building. Individuals can register for $375 or groups of three for $750. For more information or to register, visit sustainableconferences.com or contact John Gitchell at 970-484-3995. Solar conferenceRenewable energy experts will gather at the American Solar Energy Solar 2006 Conference at Adam’s Mark Hotel in downtown Denver on July 8 – 13. This year’s theme is Renewable Energy: Key to Climate Recovery. Workshops, forums, tours and other sessions will educate and network the expected 1,500 attendees, including the world’s most prestigious renewable energy decision makers. For more information or to register, visit solar2006.org or contact Phil von Hake at 303-762-8547. Activists fight ski area developmentA group of activists is fighting Texas billionaire developer B.J. “Red” McCombs’ proposal to construct a “village” at Wolf Creek Ski Area. The development, said the Friends of Wolf Creek, will destroy the meadows, rivers and wildlife that currently populate the area. The Forest Service released its Environmental Impact Statement Access Decision April 3, which granted McComb several access points on Forest Service property, despite public opposition. With its team of attorneys and specialists, the Friends of Wolf Creek are preparing to appeal the EIS decision by May 30. They are asking for donations and support. To get involved, visit http://www.friendsofwolfcreek.org.Udall proposes alternative fuels in defense spendingRepresentative Mark Udall (D-Eldorado Springs) won the case for the High Altitude Aviation Training Site (HAATS) in Eagle during debate on the Defense Authorization Act of 2007 in Washington, D.C. He also succeeded at making an appreciation program for returning Iraq war veterans permanent. However, Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee rejected Udall’s proposal to increase funding for alternative fuel programs at the Department of Defense. Udall proposed moving $63 million from the $2.8 billion Ground-based Midcourse Defense missile program to the Defense Energy Support Center and the Advanced Power Technology Office. These transferred funds would be used to install alternative fuel pumps at military bases and use new power technologies in military vehicles and equipment. While the committee voted down Udall’s alternative fuel amendment by a party line vote of 25-30, it approved his bill to establish the importance of HAATS, the primary aviation training center for high-altitude, power-limited environments, and its need for more aircraft. The approved bill also included permanent funding for the Freedom Salute Campaign and Welcome Home Warriors program for troops returning from the war in Iraq. Cleaning up after minesThe Environmental Protection Agency, with the help of Trout Unlimited, is making ripples in legislation that will clean watersheds harmed by abandoned mine runoff. Trout Unlimited, the nation’s oldest and largest fishery conservation organization, praised the EPA for addressing one of the key problems affecting fisheries in 40 percent of headwater streams in the west, according to Trout Unlimited’s vice president for conservation Chris Wood. With the help of a private grant, the two groups joined forces to remove mining debris from the American Fork River of Utah. The groups overcame liability concerns of Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort, which owns property in that area, in setting up what they tag the “Good Samaritan Initiative.” With the federal permitting process and contributions from private and state and federal agencies, Trout Unlimited has begun other restoration projects in Montana, Idaho, Utah and Colorado. Check out the group’s “Grassroots Guide to Abandoned Mine Cleanup at tu.org/miningguide.New hut at Jones GulchThe Tenth Mountain Division Hut Association is proposing the construction of a new hut at Jones Gulch, 1.5 miles northeast of Vance’s Cabin near Tennessee Pass. Tenth Mountain expects eventual private development next to Vance’s Cabin, which it fears will destroy the secluded environment.The new hut would replace Vance’s Cabin. Tenth Mountain would also create a new trail connecting the new hut to the existing Tenth Mountain trail, as well as an access road to the new location. For more details about the proposal, contact Arthur Bauer at the White River National Forest Supervisors Office, 948 Glenwood Springs, Colorado 81602, 970-945-3261. Written comments on the proposal should be sent no later than June 1.Global warming numbers releasedThe National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued the Annual Greenhouse Gas Index earlier this month. The index revealed that the amount of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere is increasing, although the growth rate is slowing down.The index is referenced in relation to a baseline value of 1.00 for the greenhouse gas levels in 1990. The index for 2005 is 1.215, a relatively low increase of 1.25 percent from 2004. Specifically, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide both increased, methane leveled off, and two chlorofluorocarbons decreased. Although the index is on the rise, the constant methane rate and the decline of CFCs slowed the growth. The 2005 index also revealed a positive radiative forcing, which refers to the balance between radiation entering and leaving earth’s atmosphere. Positive radiative forcing warms the surface of the Earth. The increase is due to the rise of CO2 in the atmosphere. From 2004 to 2005, more than two new CO2 molecules formed for every million air molecules. NOAA’s index is produced by the Global Monitoring Division of the Earth System Resource Laboratory in Boulder. It has been measured since 1979 by comparing annual changes in greenhouse gas levels, measured at more than 100 sampling sites around the world. For more details on the 2005 index, visit http://www.cmdl.noaa.gov/aggi.Vail, Colorado
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