General news from Colorado – 2 Part

Uninsured grow and hospital costs soar

The rising cost of medical care in Colorado has pushed private insurers to charge customers more, leaving more people uninsured. The rising costs can largely be attributed to the use of advanced technologies in hospitals, which many criticize does not justify raising prices. Between 2002 and 2006 the number of insured patients in the state fell 11%, and over half of all Colorado visits were paid for by government health programs in 2006.

Salazar blocks BLM director over Roan Plateau

Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar has blocked President Bush's nominee to head the Bureau of Land Management in an effort to give his state more influence in the decision to drill on the Roan Plateau. The senator claims that Governor Bill Ritter should have time to review the plan to drill to ensure that it is carried out in Colorado's best interest. The BLM had orginally denied Ritter's request for 180 days to review the proposal.

Mining company, Denver Water at odds over reservoir water

One of the nations largest mining companies is pushing to gain more access to the Dillon Reservoir, Denver’s largest storage reservoir. Phelps Dodge is fighting for the water to use at its proposed Climax molybdenum mine. The reservoir’s location at the headwaters of the Colorado river means that tampering with water supplies will change water levels all the way down the river.

Colorado company offers solar-power option to area businesses

Federal and state laws offering incentives to Colorado’s solar power users are drawing the attention of businesses thinking in the long term. Christine Christensen’s business, Broomfield Sheet Metal, is having a solar panel installed at no cost by EyeOn Energy, Ltd., an energy services company which retains third-party ownership in the solar panels it installs. By installing the system EyeOn Energy retains ownership of the system and receives all benefits from the government.

Attitude about recreational water rights evolves in Colorado

Rapid population growth in the West has made water a more valuable commodity for drinking and agriculture. A new policy by Colorado River District, however, indicates that the state’s value of water in rivers has grown significantly due to the popularity of kayaking and river rafting. The water sports are an economic powerhouse drawing large numbers of visitors and residents to Colorado annually.

City to help citizens cut energy use

Officials at Boulder's Environmental Affairs office are working hard to meet the city's pledge to meet Kyoto Protocol emission requirements. The Kyoto Protocol calls for the city to lower greenhouse gas emissions 7 percent below 1990 standards by 2012. In September the city will launch ClimateSmart, a program that will lend resources to residents and local businesses on emission reducing strategies.

Ranchers sell land to conservationists

A new trend in Colorado features ranchers selling the rights to their land to conservationists rather than land developers. Landowners receive tax breaks when they put conservation easements on their land and are able to preserve their ranches in many cases as well.

Uranium company battling state over environmental rules

A new plan to reopen four uranium mines should be exempt of Colorado's environmental regulations according to mining representatives. Cotter Corp. claims that the laws were not passed to regulate uranium mines and therefore their company should not have to form an environmental protection plan. The state laws on mining were orginally passed following the Summitville gold mine disaster in which metal and cyanide were traced near groundwater.

Water crisis becomes urgent amid dry skies, wells

Local farmers are struggling to turn a profit and keep their farms alive while engaged in a heated water dispute with local communities. Many Colorado cities have successfully regulated water use to sustain their rapid growth, but have left farmers in surrounding areas such as the South Platte River Basin with thousands of acres of drought-ridden land.

Push on to alternative fuels

Alternative-fuel researchers at Colorado State University are debating ethanol’s energy creating capacity to other biofuels. Researchers point out that despite ethanol’s high output of energy, the total mass by which the crop can be grown lags behind competing crops such as algae.

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