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LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS 
of
Larimer County, Colorado
HomeEnvironmental Action

Environmental Action

National League Position:   The League of Women Voters of the United States believes that natural resources should be managed as interrelated parts of life-supporting ecosystems.  Resources should be conserved and protected to assure their future availability.  Pollution of these resources should be controlled in order to preserve the physical, chemical and biological integrity of ecosystems and to protect public health.  (LWVUS, 1986)  

 

Larimer County League Environmental Action Team:  The Team is focused on specific local actions in five areas that can effect a slowing of climate change.  These areas are: water; renewable energy; oil and gas; pollinator habitat; and plastics. The Team’s groups meet and work independently as well as being part of the monthly Team meeting discussions.  All the Teams collaborate with other like-minded groups.

Water Group

The stimulus for forming EAT was the Environmental Impact Statement on the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP) from the Army Corps of Engineers in 2015.  The Larimer League submitted comments about inadequate procedures and process.  The Corps of Engineers is expected to release its final EIS and Recommendation of Decision sometime in 2021. 

 

The group continues to monitor local water issues and activities, and it has developed a bibliography of books and materials on water issues.  
Bibliography of Water Issues in the West

The Oil and Gas Group

The Oil and Gas group is focused on the development of strong regulations for oil and gas development in order to minimize that industry’s effects on public health, safety, welfare, the environment and wildlife resources.  The need for additional and more specific air quality monitoring is a major concern of the group. 

The Plastics Group 

Plastic pollution is an environmental threat to both coastal areas and inland environments.  It often ends up in our rivers and landfills. Our group studies plastic pollution, its impacts, and solutions in order to support sensible legislative and community initiatives that will help tackle this growing problem.

The Pollinator Group

There is wonder in pollinators  - bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles.  Pollinators are vital to food production, and their survival is in trouble. Habitat loss and pesticide use account for much of pollinator decline.  We address the need for a sustainable habitat of food, shelter and water in "our own backyard" with specific recommendations, while joining in collaboration with other organizations to advocate for the survival of the pollinators in our community.  

The Renewable Energy Group

The Renewable Energy group has developed and disseminated resource and contact information for all the providers of wind and solar power in Larimer County. It continues to focus on local government actions that can encourage and result in greater use of renewable energy sources.

Summary Notes From Our Last Monthly Meeting 

Notes from the December 16, 2020 Meeting --

League Positions

The group has looked at the League’s current positions to decide if change or updates are needed. The League has three levels of positions – national, state and local. The Colorado League has positions on land use, fracking and water. The Larimer League has a position on local planning. Do we need additional study? The national, state and local current positions can be found on the Larimer League web site.

https://www.lwvlarimercounty.org/content.aspx?page_id=22&club_id=320226&module_id=301796

Discussion about whether the group should have a position on climate change. In the past, the thought was that so many other groups were focusing on climate change, the League would instead focus on local issues that affect climate change. The suggestion was made to develop a written statement in support of groups focusing on climate change. A written statement would pull together all the environmental EAT subgroups such as pollinators, plastics, etc.

Pollinator Group

The group now has 11 active members and is working on two projects.

1. The Nature in the City grant is completed and submitted for the pollinator garden at the Fort Collins recycling center. Group is waiting to hear back.

2. The pollinator group will host the February 2021 general meeting. Topics include advocacy, pesticide impact in pollinator gardens, practical steps to add to a pollinator garden.

The group is looking at2021 goals. Also collaborating with Audubon and looking at other groups to collaborate with.

 

 

Plastics

The plastics group began meeting last Thursday. Looking to advocate for two bills introduced in the State legislature last session - single use plastics and a polystyrene ban. The group will meet again in January. Andrea Wilkins, the League legislative liaison, was helpful in making some calls and learned that these bills will be introduced again this session. The plastics group will work on this effort and collaborate with other League groups.

Fort Collins City Council discussed regulating plastics at the December 15 Council meeting. The Council had a long discussion and decided to put a plastics issue on the April 2021 ballot. City staff were asked to and did a lot of research on the subject. 10% of the City’s solid waste in the landfill is plastics. Agreed to a ban on plastic bags and a fee for paper bags at large retailers. Would become effective in 2022 to give time for City businesses to recover from COVID 19. There would be some exceptions including for those who can’t afford the cost.

There is an unsettled issue regarding the State not allowing local jurisdictions to regulate plastics. A bill introduced last session to do away with a State prohibition on local governments enacting plastic ordinances did not pass out of committee. Boulder is regulating plastics without interference by State. Question, what affect will State’s control over plastics legislation have on Fort Collins plan to regulate plastics?

The City’s plan is to survey residents on the Our City web site. https://ourcity.fcgov.com/plastics

Please visit to engage.

Oil & Gas

AQCC hearing

https://cdphe.stg.colorado.gov/aqcc

starts December 15 at 3 pm and continues Thursday and Friday. At the November rulemaking hearing, the Commission closed the hearing record and made a motion to vote on the Regional Haze State Implementation Plan, including the changes requested by environmental groups which were the closing one year early of three coal plants:

  • City of Colorado Springs and Colorado Springs Utilities,
  • Platte River Power Authority,
  • Public Service Company of Colorado, and Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc.

Last week the utility companies requested that the AQCC re-open the record to accept their testimony against closing the plants early. The hearing starts at 3 pm.

EPA’s regional haze rule requires states to reduce emissions of visibility impairing pollutants that negatively impact class I areas. 12 in Colorado including RMNP and the Rawah Wilderness area.

Sarah Snead is encouraging all to post support for the early closure of the three coal plants on social media between 10 and 2 today and to also target Governor Polis. Concern that the Colorado Energy office is siding with the utility companies.

The AQCC will also address the Denver Metro/North Front Range Serious State Implementation Plan for the 2008 8-Hour Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard (SIP). Once ok’d by the AQCC the SIP goes for legislative review in January 2021 and will be submitted to the EPA in February 2021. The Regional Air Quality Council (RAQC) developed and wrote the SIP. Environmental groups submitted alternatives to the SIP which the RAQC will testify against. Alternatives included: cuts to motor vehicle emissions budgets, expansion of the non-attainment area to include northern Weld County, changes to air pollution levels, and voluntary reclassification from Serious to Severe.

Boulder County passed 2000 to 2500 ft setbacks and setbacks from trails and trailheads.

PSR Colorado’s 2nd Annual Medical Symposium: Health Effects of Oil and Gas Development presentations are now on YouTube.

https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLJL1_XuQKFKN8LphPFy2YPGeCzW4NTpFR

The new CDPHE Air Quality Enterprise stakeholder group has been meeting to start the conversation about fees to get ready for the Board which will meet for the first time in January 2021. The Board members have been appointed. The list of board members will be emailed to EAT. The Board will conduct science based air quality modeling and monitoring and will provide emission mitigation services.

The COGCC has passed updated oil and gas regulations. A COGCC meeting was held yesterday evening. Two individuals provided comments and the Commissioners voted to adopt the consent agenda. The COGCC has a new system for notification of upcoming hearing agendas. There are also older applications that the Commission will work through. Yesterday there was a pooling application for Larimer County as part of the consent agenda.

Sign up for COGCC hearing and rulemaking emails.  https://cogcc.state.co.us/about2.html#/email_signup

Water

The environmental groups’ case against Northern Waters Chimney Hollow Reservoir and the Windy Gap Firming project has been thrown out by the judge. The project has received final approval and Northern Water will proceed with the project to bring water from the western slope to the eastern slope.

The Montava development north of Fort Collins needs water rights to provide for development. Montava is in the East Larimer Water District. Montava plans to drill wells to supply the development. Because of these wells, Montava must supply replacement water to those with water rights on the Poudre River and are asking for 25 acre feet from Fort Collins water utility. This needs to go to water court to be approved.

The Fort Collins Bookfest 2020 had a session called Rivers of the West online. Very interesting. 

https://www.focobookfest.org/sessions/rivers-of-the-west/ 

Fred Pierce, Brad Udall, Luke Runyon and Jenifer Gimbal. Fred Pierce has travel around the world to study rivers and wrote When the Rivers Run Dry. He writes about the affects to river ecology by changes in the rivers.

Reagan Waskom, director of the Colorado Water Center at CSU is retiring. Jennifer Gimbel will be the interim director until a new director is hired.

Sustainability

PiCA is still advocating related to the Northgate development which is moving through the system. Requesting increased number of affordable houses and building sustainable homes.

Other

EAT’s landing page was blank recently. Items were mistakenly deleted

Next meeting January 20, 2021