WASHINGTON (AP) – The Obama administration says new rules to
manage nearly 200 million acres of national forests will protect
watersheds and wildlife while promoting uses ranging from
recreation to logging.
The new rules, to replace guidelines thrown out by a federal
court in 2009, are set to take effect in early March. Agriculture
Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the rule change on Thursday.
Vilsack said in an interview that the rules reflect more than
300,000 comments received since a draft plan was released last
year. He says the new rules strengthen a requirement that decisions
be based on the best available science and recognize that forests
are used for a variety of purposes.
Vilsack says the new regulation’s emphasis on science and
multiple uses should allow it to stand up to likely court
challenges from environmental groups or the timber industry.
DENVER (AP) – Lawmakers are debating whether Colorado illegal
immigrants who graduate from state high schools should qualify for
college tuition that’s lower than the out-of-state amount.
A Senate committee led by Democrats is holding a hearing on the
proposal on Thursday. The Democratic bill would a separate tuition
category that is a bit higher that in-state tuition but lower than
out-of-state tuition. Illegal immigrant students would qualify if
they sign an affidavit saying they are seeking legal status and
they graduated from a state school after attending for at least
three years. The bill gives colleges the ability to opt-out of creating the
separate tuition category. Senate Bill 15 is expected to have a
hard time in the Republican-controlled House if it reaches there.
DENVER (AP) – The federal government is trying to prevent a
longtime anti-abortion protester from being able to stop cars and
talk to drivers as they enter Denver’s Planned Parenthood center,
arguing that he’s making it “unreasonably difficult” for patients
and employees to get to the clinic. U.S. Justice Department lawyer Gayle Winsome told U.S. District Judge Philip Brimmer on Thursday that Kenneth Scott sometimes stands in the only driveway leading to the center’s to talk to drivers and distribute pamphlets, forcing drivers stopped behind
them to wait before they can enter. She said that violates a 1994
law protecting access to abortion clinics. She urged Brimmer to
order Scott to keep at least 25 feet away from the entrance. She
said he can still express his views from there.
Scott’s lawyers say he’s a peaceful protester with a
constitutional right to speak from public areas leading up to the
property line of the center.
DENVER (AP) – Colorado state health officials want to require
flu vaccinations for nearly all hospital and nursing-home
employees. The Denver Post says the state board of health will vote
next month on new rules requiring low- and high-risk medical
facilities to increase coverage to 90 percent of workers in 2014.
The proposal is drawing criticism from workers who have religious
and other concerns.
ALAMOSA, Colo. (AP) – Federal officials are considering using
wolves to control the number of elk in the Baca National Wildlife
Refuge. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service planner Laurie Shannon says
it’s not the preferred alternative, but it’s an option. Researchers
have cited the 1996 reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone
National Park for culling elk herds and restoring park lands.