News, November 19th

DENVER (AP) – The Bureau of Land Management is delaying the sale of oil and gas leases in a crucial watershed for metro Denver. The Denver Post reports that the BLM Friday delayed the sale of six leases in South Park, citing water resources, state parks, and visual factors among concerns that need further analysis. The parcels were to be offered in February.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS (AP) – The northwestern Colorado town of Hayden won’t let a Wyoming energy company use existing roads to reach well sites in rural areas. The town council denied a request from Casper-based True Oil to bring heavy trucks and oil rig equipment through town last week. There are two schools, aging bridges and many homes along the proposed route. Mayor Jim Haskins said the town shouldn’t let the company use the roads unless it is willing to pay for improvements or repairs, alluding to towns in North Dakota who have had to repair roads because of oil boom traffic there. Unlike in the coal industry, Haskins said the jobs brought by drilling wouldn’t bring a long-term benefit to the town.

DENVER (AP) – The Colorado Court of Appeals will hear arguments in the Douglas County School District’s voucher program. The case involving the district’s challenge of a judge barring the program will be heard Monday afternoon. Taxpayers for Public Education and others challenged the program that would have offered up to 500 students $4,575 in state funding to cover tuition at mostly religious, private schools. Denver District Judge Michael Martinez blocked the voucher program in August, saying it’s a disservice to the public interest for taxpayers to pay tuition for religious schools. Martinez ruled the program violated the state’s constitution and school-financing act. The school district argues that the Colorado Supreme Court has previously upheld programs that use state money for education and private institutions.

DENVER (AP) – Colorado is getting some help from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Gov. John Hickenlooper and Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia plan to announce an education funding grant from the foundation Monday at the state Capitol. Members of the Colorado Legacy Foundation will join them. It’s dedicated to increasing student achievement by having effective school leaders and teachers and igniting a passion for learning in all students.