Headlines – July 7, 2023

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    Headlines – July 7, 2023 Kira Z

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Federal Judge Recommends Rio Grande Settlement To SCOTUS

A federal judge is recommending that the U.S. Supreme Court approve a water sharing settlement proposed last month.

The settlement would recognize the use of a water gauging station near El Paso, Texas, that will help ensure New Mexico is properly sharing the resource with its neighbor. Under the agreement, New Mexico would also pay farmers to leave their fields barren and reduce water usage by improving infrastructure.

 According to the Associated Press, U.S. Circuit Judge Michael Melloy filed a report this week, calling the settlement between Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas fair, and consistent with water-sharing agreements of recent decades. 

Tensions between the three states arose when farmers in southern New Mexico began to use more groundwater as drought conditions worsened. Texas sued New Mexico, claiming that pumping groundwater was taking water from its share of the Rio Grande.

Compensation Available From Gross Reservoir Impact Mitigation Fund

As many as 400 property owners will be eligible to receive compensation from the Gross Reservoir Mitigation Impact Fund, after Boulder County Commissioners approved direct payments last month for those who are eligible.

$4 million out of the $5 million “Reduce Impacts to Residents” fund will be available for distribution. 

Each landowner must complete the required paperwork from Boulder County to receive direct payment. The payment is tiered depending on the severity of the property owner’s impact from the reservoir’s expansion construction. 

The Gross Reservoir is located in Unincorporated Boulder County, along South Boulder Creek, southwest of Boulder. Denver Water, who operates the reservoir, is expanding the water storage capacity for greater water resiliency. The Gross Reservoir Expansion Project began in April 2022.  

Residents who have completed their paperwork will receive checks from Boulder County in August and September.

CU Scientists: Marshall Fire Contaminants May Have Lingered In Homes

Some of the homes that were spared by the Marshall Fire in December 2021 may have harbored carcinogens in the form of dust created by the blaze.

A recent study by CU Boulder scientists looked at the long-term effects of the wildfire that destroyed over 1,000 homes and buildings and left two people dead.

The researchers studied dust particle samples taken from homes left standing in neighborhoods where others burned. They say they discovered elevated concentrations of potentially harmful materials such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in air samples, and in samples from indoor surfaces.

The scientists were not certain whether the particles posed a risk to residents in areas affected by the fire. However, they say the information could help residents in future fires better prepare for moving back into their homes safely.

Downtown Boulder Garage Maintenance

The City of Boulder is conducting maintenance and improvement projects on its downtown parking garages throughout the summer and fall. 

These projects will involve partial and full closures of the garages. 

The work includes repairs, power washing, re-striping, installation of parking guidance systems, upgrading electronic signs, and transitioning all five garages to gateless operation for faster entry and exit. 

The parking garage at 14th and Walnut streets will be fully closed from July 13 to Aug. 14, with alternative parking options available nearby. The Randolph Center Garage will have a longer closure starting in August, and dates are yet to be finalized.

The Community Vitality Department is coordinating with various stakeholders to ensure continued access to public parking during the projects. 

Oil and Gas Operator Evades Cleanup Orders And Fines

Oil and gas operator K.P. Kauffman has, for now, avoided a state order to clean up 78 sites and pay a $2 million fine.  

Denver District Court Judge Andrew Luxen has temporarily blocked the order by state regulators requiring K.P. Kauffman, also known as KPK, to clean up the sites and pay the fine by Aug. 1.

In February, the state Energy and Carbon Management Commission told KPK if it didn’t clean up the sites and pay the fine, they would not be allowed to do business in Colorado. KPK sued to block the Commission’s order, arguing that it denied them due process.

KPK also said that if the order went into effect, they could go out of business.

KPK has faced multiple violations at its sites. In November 2021, the company agreed to clean up spills from wells, tanks and flowlines. An initial $2 million fine was reduced at the company’s request. KPK said it couldn’t afford to pay over $795,000 dollars.

After months of delays and conflicts with commission staff overseeing remediation work, the commission voted to reimpose the $2 million dollar fine.

According to The Colorado Sun, in this latest ruling, the judge issued a stay on the cleanup orders and fines, until the KPK lawsuit against them can be heard. 

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    Headlines – July 7, 2023 Kira Z

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