News, February 7th

ACCESS CONTROL PLAN, MAJOR DEVELOPMENT ON COUNCIL AGENDA

Glenwood Springs–The Highway 82 Access Control Plan from 21st street to the city limits is being discussed by the Glenwod Springs City Council tonight. No decisions will be made but several issues will be addressed during the worksession. The council is also expected to make a decision Silver Sage Preserve subdivision in South Glenwood. Developers are asking for a few exemptions for their plans to build 38 duplex units and 17 multi-family units on Airport Road. Tonight’s meeting begins at 7.

GREELEY (AP) – PDC Energy is selling its assets on the Western Slope to concentrate on drilling in Weld County’s Wattenberg field and a prospect in Ohio. The company has signed an agreement to sell its assets in the Piceance and three other Colorado holdings to Denver-based Caerus Oil and Gas for $200 million. The company says it wants to diversify from a natural gas company to one with a more balanced portfolio of all liquids.

DENVER (AP) – The Bureau of Land Management is deferring the leasing of 20 parcels in western Colorado’s North Fork Valley for energy development. The agency says after getting flooded with public comments, it won’t be offering the parcels at its next quarterly auction of oil and gas leases on Feb. 14. Sportsmen, farmers, ranchers and residents had expressed concerns about how drilling might affect valley ranches, farms, vineyards, tourism and wildlife habitat. Acting BLM Director Mike Pool says the deferral is in line with the effort to make sure energy development occurs in appropriate places. However from the industry’s viewpoint David Ludlam of the Western Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association says the BLM’s action is a glaring example of the flaws in President Obama’s leasing reforms. The auction will still offer leases on 151 other parcels.

DENVER (AP) – An annual aerial survey of forest health in Colorado shows the mountain pine beetle epidemic is slowing dramatically, but the spruce beetle outbreak is expanding.
The U.S. Forest Service and Colorado State Forest Service said Wednesday the mountain pine beetle epidemic has spread by 31,000 acres, down from an increase of 140,000 acres reported last year. Since the first signs of the outbreak in 1996, the infestation has grown to nearly 3.4 million acres, or roughly 5,300 square miles. The infestation remains active from Estes Park to Leadville. Meanwhile the spruce beetle outbreak spread to 183,000 new acres in 2012, bringing total infestation since 1996 to about 924,000 acres. Beetle activity has increased as trees have been stressed by factors including dense stands of trees, drought and warmer winters.

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