Methane leaks lurking in Coal Basin
Recently at Aspen Journalism, we featured Sarah Tory’s piece about a climate problem lurking quietly near Redstone. The Carbondale-based freelancer and High Country News correspondent, writing this month for our Connie Harvey Environment Desk, went out on a day hike with an interesting stakeholder group to visit sites where mine vents from the shuttered Dutch Creek complex in Coal Basin emit enough methane to blow the leaves back on nearby shrubs. One Pitkin County commissioner noted that the leakage, which produces about half the total greenhouse gas emissions generated throughout the rest of the county, wasn’t on officials’ radar until recently. But now, interests including public land managers, utility companies and environmentalists are exploring the possibility of capturing the gas and using it to generate electricity.
Also, our Tracking the Curve project has updated its analysis of COVID-19 vaccine uptake by race, and the data is every bit as troubling as it was when our Social Justice Desk took a look back in May. In fact, the gap has grown. In Eagle County, the fourth-most-vaccinated county in all of Colorado, as of Sept. 28, 81% of the white population has received one dose, compared to 35% of the Latino population. In May, 60% of whites and 15% of Latinos in Eagle had received one dose.
And from the this-counts-as-good-news department, the surface elevation at Lake Powell declined at its slowest rate in months this week, losing just around 2 inches since Oct. 3. An improvement, given that a foot or more per week had become the norm through the late summer and early fall. That is but one of many interesting environmental data points you’ll glean from today’s data dashboard update.
Thanks for reading and supporting Aspen Journalism.
— Curtis Wackerle, editor
In Coal Basin, a hidden source of climate pollution
Shuttered coal mines near Redstone emit enough methane to equal half of the county’s entire greenhouse gas emissions combined
By Sarah Tory | October 9, 2021
A coalition is pushing land managers to deal with the methane leaks by authorizing a project to capture the methane and either use it somehow or destroy it. To do that, they’ll have to surmount a host of bureaucratic challenges.
Tracking the Curve
Documenting COVID-19 in Pitkin, Eagle and Garfield counties
By Laurine Lassalle | October 12, 2021
There is still a wide racial disparity in vaccine uptake. State data shows that the gap has grown in both Eagle and Garfield counties since May.
Data dashboard: Local streamflow increasing after recent rains
Clean air in Aspen. Lake Powell elevation decline slows down.
By Laurine Lassalle | October 12, 2021
• Roaring Fork River running at 39.18 cfs on Oct. 10 across town, up from 22.7 cfs on Oct. 3.
• Lake Powell’s elevation lost two inches between Oct. 3 and Oct. 10.
Ghost town owner proposes high-end, green retreat near Marble
“Chris Cox and his development partner, Stuart Gillespie, want to build at Crystal a high-end winter and summer retreat that will offer guided and unguided backcountry skiing in the winter, and hiking, biking, horseback riding and fly-fishing in the summer. The project would also include 20 luxury cabins along the North and South forks of the Crystal River and a farm-to-table restaurant.”
Source: aspentimes.com | Read more
How the newly proposed congressional map isolates pieces of Eagle County
“The proposed redistricting of Colorado’s eight congressional districts puts most of the Eagle Valley in the 2nd Congressional District, leaving Dotsero and a few other random slivers isolated in the 3rd Congressional District with El Jebel and Basalt in the Roaring Fork Valley.”
Source: vaildaily.com | Read more
The Colorado River is drying up. Here’s how that affects Indigenous water rights
“If a tribe does not (or cannot) use all the water it is entitled to, it doesn’t go unused; thirsty cities and agricultural fields downstream from reservations siphon off the surplus, but with no compensation for the tribe.”
Source: grist.org | Read more
Exploring an epic Colorado river during record-breaking drought
“By noon, after two miles of hiking the riverbanks, we quit and switched back to dragging our boats. Hiking was faster, but with our heavy loads it was too challenging to navigate thick brush and loose terrain filled with thickets of poison ivy.”
Source: nationalgeographic.com | Read more
Colorado heads into snowpack season with low reservoirs — but a twinge of hope
“Though there is uncertainty in weather models, Bolinger said Colorado is likely in for a La Niña winter this year, a weather pattern that could mean paltry snowpack in the southern part of the state, with the possibility of decent snowpack in the northern part.”
Source: coloradosun.com | Read more
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