From 9News.com (Matt Renoux):
Powderheads might be grabbing their skis and snowboards with the opening of Arapahoe Basin, but warm weather in the mountains is helping to keep the summer sports going a little longer.
Saturday is the second day of A-Basin’s winter season, even though it feels a lot more like spring with weekend temperatures in the 60s.
It’s so warm on Lake Dillon that Joanne Stolen with the Frisco Rowing Club says their season is still afloat.
Normally by this time of year they have put their shells up for the season, but warm weather has kept rowers on the water longer and even in short sleeve shirts.
“I work for the Nordic Center — they were trying to make snow and it’s been too warm but its beautiful rowing weather,” Stolen said.
From The Durango Herald:
Sunnyside Gold Corp. filed a motion last week to be dismissed from its inclusion in a lawsuit brought by the Navajo Nation for the August 2015 Gold King Mine spill.
“We are hopeful that the case against Sunnyside will be promptly dismissed, as we see no basis for us even being named in this litigation,” spokesman Larry Perino wrote in an email to The Durango Herald.
In August, the Navajo Nation filed a lawsuit that included Sunnyside, the Environmental Protection Agency and its contractor, Environmental Restoration LLC, for the mine spill, which sent 3 million gallons of wastewater down the Animas and San Juan rivers.
The lawsuit also named Kinross Gold Corp. (Sunnyside’s parent company), Gold King Mine Corp. (the entity that owns the Gold King mine) as well as Harrison Western Corp., and John Does 1 to 10.
The reasons Sunnyside asked the U.S. Federal Court in New Mexico to dismiss its inclusion are manifold: the company was not involved on the work last summer, the New Mexico court lacks jurisdiction and the bulkheading of the American Tunnel was done at the direction of the state of Colorado.
Sunnyside argued that for those reasons, the state Colorado should have been also named in the lawsuit.
“In essence, the point of Navajo Nation’s lawsuit is to hold Sunnyside liable for following the directives of Colorado and for intending to store water in Colorado,” the motion says. “The fact that an accident at the Gold King Mine – of which Sunnyside had no part – carried water into New Mexico is irrelevant for a personal jurisdiction analysis.”
In July, Sunnyside filed a similar motion to dismiss concerning the state of New Mexico’s lawsuit for impacts to that state regarding the spill.
Questions have been raised whether the bulkheading of Sunnyside’s American Tunnel has caused mine waste to back up and discharge out adjacent mines, namely the Gold King and Red & Bonita.
The EPA has said it will conduct further evaluations this summer to better understand the network of mines in the complicated drainage.
The Navajo Nation has 60-days to respond to the motion to dismiss, though it has asked the courts for an extension of that deadline.
From The Colorado Springs Gazette (Tom Roeder and Jakob Rodgers):
Local, state and federal politicians Monday called for accountability and more investigation into the military’s use of firefighting foam after a Gazette investigation showed the Air Force ignored decades of warnings from its scientists about a toxic chemical in the foam. The chemical is suspected in widespread water contamination.
The investigation, published Sunday, found that the Air Force ran a series of tests dating back to the 1970s that found the foam harmed laboratory animals. The service also ignored warnings from the Army Corps of Engineers and continued to use it for 16 years after a major manufacturer and the EPA agreed to phase it out, citing environmental and health dangers.
“That’s the definition of negligence,” said Colorado Springs Democratic state Rep. Pete Lee, whose district spans Fountain Creek…
“We cannot be in a situation where we are allowing this to continue,” said Fountain Republican state Rep. Lois Landgraf, whose district also spans Fountain Creek…
What accountability could look like is up in the air.
Landgraf said she wants a state inquiry and may call for a hearing at the General Assembly.
“We need to be looking out for our citizens,” Landgraf said. “That’s the No. 1 priority.”
Lee said he wants the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to investigate the Air Force as a likely polluter, saying the agency should “also impose, if appropriate, fines and a sanctions.”
Fountain Mayor Gabriel Ortega said he is focused on working with the Air Force to improve the city’s water supply.
“My hope is they’re in for the long haul,” Ortega said.
Unlike the Security and Widefield water districts, Fountain switched entirely to cleaner surface water last year. Security stopped using the fouled aquifer last month, and Widefield has yet to announce such a move.
Ortega voiced confidence the Air Force would follow through with its promise to spend about $4.3 million helping the impacted communities install well water filters.
“We can’t really go back and change what has happened in the past,” Ortega said. “It’s upsetting, but we’re going to work with what we can.”
From Reclamation via the Estes Park Trail-Gazette:
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has announced that it will begin shutting down this week the Colorado-Big Thompson Project east slope system for winter maintenance and system inspection.
Peter Soeth, a Bureau spokesperson, said in an e-mail that beginning Oct.27 diversions will first be stopped through the Adams Tunnel followed by the draining of Marys Lake and Lake Estes by the morning of October 31.
Flatiron Reservoir will be drained by November 4.
Maintenance activities include annual maintenance for Marys and Pole Hill powerplants, as well as the Charles Hansen Feeder Canal.
The inspection and maintenance is expected to last through the middle of December. Once complete, the system will begin diversions through the Adams Tunnel and preparing for the 2017 water year.