More Colorado co-ops announce clean energy goals


Electric cooperatives have shifted their approach to renewable energy amid declining prices and growing public support, but wholesale power providers are key

By Joe Smyth

February 11, 2019

Three electric cooperatives in Colorado have now set clean energy goals, reflecting co-ops’ growing recognition of the opportunities presented by declining prices for renewable energy and increased public support for wind and solar power development.

The latest announcement came last week from Grand Valley Power, an electric cooperative that delivers electricity to more than 18,000 members mostly in Mesa County, Colorado. Grand Valley Power established a target of 60% clean energy by 2030, which the co-op described as “one of the most aggressive environmental targets of any electric cooperative in the nation.”  Read more.





Lawmakers seek safe passage on highways for wildlife, drivers


By Elizabeth Miller

February 7, 2019
Drive a rural highway, particularly in the colder months and at dusk or after dark, and the primary road game often comes down to dodging deer.

Each year, drivers lose that fight, and vehicles collide with animals at least 1,600 times, according to New Mexico Department of Transportation. The department estimates that tally of officially reported accidents under represents the problem by half. Read more.




Going public

Support for public lands, voiced in new poll, comes to life in legislation

By Tracy Chamberlin

February 7, 2019

Parks. Trails. Open space. Wilderness. All of these natural wonders across the West are key to outdoor recreation driving much of the economy and lifestyle of Coloradans.


In a recent poll, 73 percent of Colorado residents said they consider themselves outdoor recreation enthusiasts with 74 percent adding that being near public lands was one of the reasons they chose to live here. In addition, 90 percent believe the outdoor recreation economy is key to the future of the West. Read more.

Western voters care more about climate than ‘energy dominance’



By Nick Bowlin

February 7, 2019

According to a recent poll, voters across the West are substantially more worried about climate change now than they were just two years ago. What’s more, a majority identify as “conservationists.” These attitudes are at odds with the priorities of President Donald Trump’s administration, which have included aggressively cutting environmental regulations while shrinking national monuments and encouraging fossil fuel production on public lands.

These findings come from Colorado College’s annual Conservation in the West poll, which surveys residents in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming on issues of climate, energy and public lands. This year, a majority of the approximately 400 respondents in each state rated climate change a serious problem, and every state saw an increase in climate concern.  Read more.

Poll: Most Utahns Say Protecting Public Lands Is A Priority


February 6, 2019

Utah voters expressed strong opinions in a new poll on issues such as climate change, protecting public lands and outdoor recreation.

In the ninth annual “Conservation in the West” poll from Colorado College, two-thirds of voters polled in eight Western states identified themselves as conservationists, and strongly endorsed policies that protect land, water and wildlife.  Read more



Colorado College poll finds voters back land protection


By Faith Miller

February 6, 2019

The ninth annual Colorado College State of the Rockies Project Conservation in the West Poll shows Colorado voters embrace protection and accessibility of public lands and strongly disapprove of President Donald Trump’s agenda (including removing national monument protections, removing Clean Water Act safeguards for streams and wetlands and permitting increased oil and gas production on 80 percent of Western states’ “critical habitat” for the threatened sage grouse).

The poll surveyed voters in Colorado, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.  Read more.

Oil and gas leases in Beaverhead, Madison counties on hold


by Susan Dunlap

February 4, 2019

Oil and gas leasing on 12,889 acres in Beaverhead and Madison counties has been deferred indefinitely, a Bureau of Land Management official said Monday.

But that doesn’t mean the leases are dead forever.

Cornelia Hudson, BLM Dillon field office manager, said the agency got so many negative public comments last month on the proposed oil and gas leases that the BLM deferred those parcels.  Read more.

Poll: Western Voters Soundly Reject Trumpian Conservation Ideas


by Chris Bianchi

February 5, 2019

A Colorado College poll of Western voters found that they increasingly favor conservation efforts, with Colorado voters among the more conservation-focused in the region.

The poll asked voters in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming and Idaho about a variety of issues related to conservation, wildlife, energy use and climate change, and respondents supported virtually every conservation effort by a wide margin.

For example, 73 percent of Coloradans said they’d vote to raise taxes to pay for conservation funding. Even self-identified Republicans said they’d endorse tax increases to help fund such projects — a general rebuke of the Trump administration’s “energy dominance” agenda.  Read more.

Colorado College: 2019 Conservation in the West Poll — The 9th Annual Survey of Voters in the Rocky Mountain West


February 5, 2019

Western voters have significant concerns around water issues and the increasingly visible impact of climate change; optimism for benefits of outdoor recreation economy

The ninth annual Colorado College State of the Rockies Project Conservation in the West Poll released [January 31, 2019] shows voters in the Mountain West continue to support efforts to keep public lands protected and accessible, putting them at odds with the Trump administration’s “energy dominance” agenda.  Read more



As Many Expected, Acting Secretary David Bernhardt Is Nominated To Head Interior Department





By Nate Hegyi

Originally published on February 5, 2019 3:24 pm

President Donald Trump took to Twitter to nominate David Bernhardt as the nation’s next Interior Secretary. The former oil industry lobbyist and longtime government employee has been acting Secretary since Ryan Zinke stepped down last month amid questions about his ethics and conflicts of interest.

Bernhardt served as Deputy Interior Secretary during Zinke’s 21-month tenure at the helm of the department. In that role, he was largely responsible for running daily operations in Washington. During his tenure, he has reduced regulations and helped open millions of acres of federally-managed public lands to potential oil and gas development.  Read more.