NEWS

HOUSE COMMITTEE PASSES REVISED DRILLING SETBACK RULE

Denver—It may be temporary, but for now it’s a win for schools and a blow for Colorado’s oil and gas industry. Last night, following more than six hours of testimony, the House Health, Insurance and Environment Committee voted 6 to 5 for a bill requiring drilling sites to be a minimum of 1,000 feet from a school’s property line.  The current regulation only applies to a school building.  A long parade of supporters testified before the committee including Grand Valley Citizens Alliance President Leslie Robinson.  She says drilling accidents happen frequently and it makes no sense to put children at risk who may be playing outside the building.  She says House Bill 1256 will fix that oversight.  Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Chairman Matt Lepore says the measure will undo all the work the commission did to clarify regulations.  He says the Governor-appointed task force held meetings across the state two years ago to come up with clear definitions. The bill now moves on to the committee of the whole before being heard by the entire house.

GLENWOOD CHAMBER ENDORSES TRANSPORTATION FUNDING BILL

Glenwood Springs—The Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association is endorsing a plan that would increase sales taxes to help pay for road and bridge construction.  If passed, House Bill 1242 would ask voters this November to approve the 20 year sales tax increase for specific transportation infrastructure projects.  300 million dollars a year would be earmarked for C-DOT and the state highway fund.  70 percent of the funds would go to counties and municipalities in equal amounts while 30 percent would go into a fund for multi-modal transportation options.  The bill will be heard by the House Transportation Committee next Wednesday.

EMMA OPEN SPACE PROJECT

Aspen—It’s a picturesque setting that thousands of people pass every day on Highway 82. Now officials in Pitkin County are asking citizens for some ideas about how to best manage the Emma Open Space and town site property.  An open house is being held next Thursday, March 30th at Basalt Town Hall to discuss the 12 and half acre town site, the historic Emma stone buildings, a Victorian home along the Roaring Fork River, a wetlands area and heritage fruit trees.  The old Emma Schoolhouse and nearby parking lot are not part of the open space holdings.  Following the open house, public comments will be taken until April 7th.  Final adoption of a plan is expected by the end of June.