Afternoon News headlines 7/19/2016

Garfield County Commissioners object to report ranking them as the 25th most ozone-polluted city in the country.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife issue statement on Gray Wolf population.

Noam Chomsky endorses Amendment 69.

Garfield County Commissioners object to report ranking them as the 25th most ozone-polluted city in the country.

Garfield County commissioners are objecting to an American Lung Association report that ranked the Glenwood Springs/Edwards area as the 25th most ozone-polluted city in the country. Yesterday, The Commissioners formally signed off on a letter drafted by the county’s environmental health specialist, that questioned the method used by the American Lung Association.

The ALA issues the annual state of the air report, using data on ozone and particle pollution from monitoring stations across the country. The report, was released in April and gave Garfield and many other Colorado counties an “F” for high ozone days from 2012-14. During that time period, Garfield had 47 days with an “orange” ozone rating, which signifies unhealthy conditions for sensitive groups, such as those with asthma.

The letter sent to the American Lung Association stated that “Garfield County has the most extensive air monitoring network of any rural county in the state of Colorado and possibly the nation, with a breadth of data to show that our air quality is well within attainment of standards for ozone,”

Morgan Hill, Garfield County’s environmental health specialist went on to say that the county has different topographical areas and “Grouping them together for this designation is a misrepresentation of the county’s distinct local communities.”

Colorado Parks and Wildlife issue statement on Gray Wolf population.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife said Monday that the population of gray wolves is naturally expanding in the state to the point that people should take care not to accidentally kill one. The agency cited numerous confirmed and possible appearances of the animal in Colorado in recent years. Gray wolves are protected in the state under the federal Endangered Species Act. The Colorado Parks and Wildlife has issued its advisory in an effort to help prevent illegal killings of the species. Such killings can result in criminal charges, up to a year in prison and a fine up to $100,000.

Last year a hunter near Kremmling mistakenly killed a wolf that he thought was a coyote. In that case however, no charges were brought as the man had been hunting legally and didn’t intentionally kill the wolf and reported the killing to CPW immediately.

There have been several reported wolf sightings in Colorado over the years. The Colorado Parks and Wildlife service has said that while there’s no evidence that wolves exist at the population level in the state, that’s likely to change in the near future.

The CPW has been criticized by those who have been campaigning for an official reintroduction program for gray wolves in Colorado. Gary Wockner was part of a 2004 wolf working group in Colorado. He responded to the CPW’s statement yesterday saying that wolves won’t permanently return to the state without the help of an active reintroduction program. He accuses Colorado Parks and Wildlife of playing politics, not science in its suggestion that wolves will return on their own accord.

Noam Chomsky endorses Amendment 69.

Noam Chomsky has officially endorsed amendment 69, the Colorado Care campaign that would bring universal health care to the state. The Colorado Care yes campaign issued a statement today saying Chomsky has called Colorado’s “Medicare-for-All” type health care plan a “great idea which should be extended to the whole country”.

Chomsky said that while there has been failure at a federal level to bring health care reform, significant progress has been initiated at the state level. He said that was why the ColoradoCare initiative is very much to be welcomed. It will not only be of great benefit to the people of Colorado, but may also be an opening wedge to substantial progress for the country as a whole." Amendment 69 is so far the only ballot measure currently approved for the general election ballot. Several other initiatives are in the signature gathering phase.

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