emissions from plant pipe against setting sun


Officials say gas emissions are declining

Colorado officials say greenhouse gas emissions in the state peaked in 2010 and have been in decline since.

Colorado Air Pollution Control Division Director Gary Kaufman says the decline rate has been small, but it is expected to increase by 2030.

The data are included in the Colorado Public Health and Environment's draft inventory of the state's greenhouse gases .

The report projects 125.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and other gases will be emitted in the state in 2020. That's down from nearly 127 million metric tons in 2015 and 133 million metric tons in 2010.

A new state law aims to cut emissions to at least 90% of 2005 levels, or about 113 million metric tons, by 2050. Officials project the state will still be well above that goal in 2030.



Colorado-based power provider now under federal regulation

A Westminster-based power provider serving four states has voted for the federal government to regulate it.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will oversee the Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association and set its electric rates.

Tri-State says the move will give it more flexibility than being regulated by four states where it serves electric cooperatives: Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and Nebraska.

Colorado lawmakers say they asked for a delay in the decision last week because they wanted more time to determine the implications of the change.

A new law requires Colorado regulators to approve Tri-State's plans for where it gets its power, whether from coal or renewable sources.

State agencies say their ability to regulate planning, emissions and environmental issues will not change.



Area's hotels, railroad record stronger numbers

Hotels and a tourist railroad in southwest Colorado are reporting stronger numbers this season after a wildfire slowed tourism and spending last summer.

Ridership on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is so far even with 2017 numbers.

Railroad spokesman Christian Robbins says the attraction aims to match or exceed the 193,000 riders recorded that year.

According to a Smith Travel Destination report, the 17 Durango hotels recorded more than 90% occupancy on July 4-6.

The report by the firm that tracks hospitality data shows the hotels had higher occupancy in late June than it had the previous year.

Mesa Verde National Park near Cortez has recorded fewer visitors during the first half of this year, but it did see an uptick in June.



Discussion underway on future of Pikes Peak motorcycle race

Officials are discussing whether to end the motorcycle race portion of the race to the summit of Pikes Peak near Colorado Springs following the death of a motorcyclist.

In an email obtained by The Gazette, race executive director Megan Leatham told city and U.S. Forest Service officials the day after the crash that she thought it was the end of The Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb's motorcycle program.

Organizers say 36-year-old Carlin Dunne highsided coming into the last turn.

The manager of a city enterprise that oversees the mountain's highway, Jack Glavan, confirmed the conversations about ending the motorcycle race are underway.

He said questions from him and the U.S. Forest Service about must be answered before the race would be allowed to continue, including whether a bump caused or worsened the highside.



Man sentenced for having banned animals for hunts

 A man has been sentenced for possessing prohibited, non-native sheep at his private hunting ranch in Colorado.

Michael Gates, 34, pleaded guilty to illegally possessing and importing exotic sheep species. Gates received a one-year deferred judgment sentence.

Authorities say the Vernal, Utah, resident procured the animals for clients to hunt at his ranch near Dinosaur.

The Colorado Parks and Wildlife department says the animals included Mouflon sheep hybrids, Texas Dall sheep and Painted Desert sheep, which are all prohibited in Colorado.

Wildlife officials say the prohibition protects native wildlife from disease and hybridization with non-native species, as well as protecting domestic sheep and preventing habitat damage.



Construction of $70M highway express lane to begin

Colorado plans to add another tolled express lane on Interstate 70 near Idaho Springs.

The $70 million project west of Denver will include a 12-mile zone. Officials say the new westbound express lane will mirror an eastbound lane that opened in 2015.

The lane is expected to open in early 2021 and will extend from the Veterans Memorial Tunnels to the U.S. 40 exit at Empire Junction.

Officials say the construction will widen portions of the highway to accommodate the narrow lane, which will revert to a shoulder during off-peak hours.

The Colorado Department of Transportation will set varying toll rates for the lane.

Democratic Gov. Jared Polis says the toll lanes are "temporary solutions" for I-70.



Man pleads guilty in theft of thousands of pills

Federal prosecutors say a 21-year-old man has pleaded guilty to burglarizing a Colorado pharmacy including opioid pills valued at more than $18,000.

U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn's office says Dewayne Scott entered his plea recently. Scott is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 26.

According to prosecutors, Scott and four other people burglarized a pharmacy in Colorado Springs around 3 a.m. on Aug. 22, 2017. Investigators found that the stolen items included nearly 7,000 pills, including OxyContin, Hydrocodone, Hydromorphone and Oxycodone.

The pharmacy's entire loss was estimated at more than $27,000.

FBI agents questioned Scott about the pharmacy burglary in October 2017 while he was being investigated for a burglary from a moving company. He was charged in March.



Boat inspections finding more invasive mussels

Colorado wildlife inspectors have intercepted a record number of boats infested with invasive mussels as they try to keep the economically-damaging shellfish from entering state waters.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife has found 51 boats with mussels so far this season across the state. That's the same number for all of 2018.

Officials say most of the boats were coming from Utah's Lake Powell.

Invasive mussels can quickly spread, displacing native species and damaging water supply and irrigation systems.

The shellfish are found in waterbodies of surrounding states including Utah, Kansas and Nebraska.

Officials urge boat owners to clean and drain their boats before putting them into state waters.



Feds settle suit against power company for 2010 fire

Federal prosecutors say they have settled a lawsuit blaming a Colorado power company for a 2010 wildfire that burned about four square miles of land.

U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn's office announced the $1.2 million agreement.

Dunn's office says the San Miguel Power Association denies all liability or wrongdoing for causing the Beaver Fire, which ignited May 22, 2010.

Prosecutors say two cottonwood trees fell across one of the company's electrical power lines and started a fire that burned public and national forest land near Norwood.

Bureau of Land Management officials say the settlement helps offset costs of fire suppression in Colorado.


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