NEWS, NOVEMBER 8TH

DENVER (AP) – Colorado regulators are taking up an independent
panel’s recommendations for tweaking the state’s rules on hydraulic
fracturing. The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission had volunteered
for a review of its rules earlier this year by STRONGER, or the
State Review of Oil & Natural Gas Environmental Regulations. The
group praised some of Colorado’s regulations but also made
suggestions in a report released in late October.
Commission Director David Neslin says that in response to the
report, the commission is evaluating the availability of water for
hydraulic fracturing. It’s also determining levels of naturally
occurring radioactive materials in waste associated with fracking.
Even before STRONGER’s report, the commission was working on
adopting rules for public disclosure of chemicals used in fracking.

DENVER (AP) – Wyoming is tops among states that shared in
revenues from oil, gas and mineral production on federal land
within their borders in the last fiscal year.
The Interior Department said Monday it collected $11.16 billion
from energy production on public lands and offshore areas in fiscal
2011, or about $2 billion more than in the previous year.
About $6 billion of that went to the U.S. Treasury, but some
money also went to 37 states where mineral production occurred on
federal land. Wyoming received more than $971 million. Among other top
energy-producing states, New Mexico received more than $434
million. Colorado received nearly $157 million. About $538 million was disbursed to 34 American Indian tribes and about 30,000 individual Indian mineral owners, up from $407 million in fiscal 2010.

DENVER (AP) – An audit estimates that Colorado’s Department of
Labor paid $60 million in unemployment benefits last year to people
whose legal status in the U.S. was not verified.
The audit from the Colorado Auditor’s office released Monday
comes weeks after the department disclosed it had overpaid $169
million to people who were ineligible to receive unemployment
benefits in 2010. The audit says that almost half of the
overpayments went to people who claimed they were searching for
work. The report also found that thousands of people were given
benefits even though they provided driver’s license or
identification numbers that were clearly wrong, in some cases using
all zeroes. Department Executive Director Ellen Golombek says officials
realize there are “systemic problems” with the state’s
unemployment insurance program and they are committed to correcting
them.

DENVER (AP) – Auditors will investigate a $32.4 million spending
miscalculation disclosed this summer at the Colorado Division of
Wildlife. Colorado lawmakers in the Legislative Audit Committee on Tuesday
unanimously approved a request to examine the department’s
accounting practices. The Division of Wildlife merged with State Parks in July in a move intended to save the state some $3 million to $4 million a
year. The departments became the Colorado Division of Parks and
Wildlife. The department said it failed to subtract spending on land and
water acquisitions and other expenses from 2006 to 2007 and 2009 to
2010. An audit typically takes about nine months to complete.

FRISCO, Colo. (AP) – A public meeting is scheduled to discuss a
federal plan for managing land and minerals in an area that
includes the Blue River. The plan could affect a proposal to turn over both banks of a 15-mile stretch of the river to private ownership.
Summit County Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier says she is worried
about the Blue Valley Ranch land exchange. Public access to 15
miles from the Green Mountain Dam to the confluence with the
Colorado River is at stake. The News reports approving the plan would not make the exchange automatic, but it makes it a better possibility.
The meeting Tuesday in Kremmling will provide input on a Bureau
of Land Management plan that will cover the next two decades of
land management.

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