Friends of the Dillon Ranger District receives $12K from Vista Subaru | SummitDaily.com

Friends of the Dillon Ranger District receives $12K from Vista Subaru

Alli Langley
alangley@summitdaily.com

Board and staff members from Friends of the Dillon Ranger District accept a check from Vista Subaru of Silverthorne employees as the local nonprofit received $11,814 through the car dealership's 'Share the Love' program. From left, David Airington, Jasmine Hupcey, Doozie Martin, Samantha Whitehead, Mike Connolly and Suzanne Reed.

In early April, the nonprofit partner of the local Forest Service district received a nearly $12,000 donation from Vista Subaru of Silverthorne.

Friends of the Dillon Ranger District was the only local beneficiary of four organizations in Vista Subaru "Share the Love" program in December.

People buying or leasing a new vehicle could choose to donate $250 to the organization of their choice, and the program included a matching donation component from the local car dealership.

FDRD received the bulk of the donations, amounting to $11,814, which the nonprofit's director Mike Connolly said will be added to the organization's general fund and be used for trail maintenance projects in Summit County.

USGS links industry activity to man-made earthquake increase

Earthquake activity has sharply increased since 2009 in the central and eastern United States, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, and the increase has been linked to industrial operations that dispose of wastewater by injecting it into deep wells.

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The USGS released a report Thursday with preliminary models to forecast the frequency and severity of future seismic activity in areas where earthquake increases have been recorded, including in Colorado.

"This new report describes for the first time how injection-induced earthquakes can be incorporated into U.S. seismic hazard maps," said Mark Petersen, chief of the USGS National Seismic Hazard Modeling Project. "These earthquakes are occurring at a higher rate than ever before and pose a much greater risk to people living nearby."

Final hazard models will be released at the end of the year, and future research will incorporate data from the western states.

Energy company fined for Colorado air pollution violations

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency agreed to a settlement with Noble Energy for violation of state air quality regulations.

Noble Energy agreed to system-wide upgrades and to fund projects to reduce emissions.

In 2012, state and federal inspectors found that some Noble facilities violated a Colorado Air Quality Control Commission's regulation on excess emissions of volatile organic compounds due to over-pressurization and venting from storage tanks.

Under terms of the settlement, Noble will fund certain Supplemental Environmental Projects in the Denver Metro-North Front Range area for a total of $8.95 million. Noble will also fund additional environmental mitigation projects throughout the area.

Noble Energy also must survey all its facilities in the area and implement any needed design changes to minimize emissions and ensure compliance with state regulations. With roughly 3,400 storage tank installations, Noble already began much of this work, focusing first on its largest facilities.

Polis introduces law to employ vets in public land protection

Reps. Jared Polis (CO-02) and Raul Ruiz (D-CA) recently introduced the Veterans Conservation Corps Act of 2015.

The law targets military veterans who served after 9/11 and face an upwards of 17 percent unemployment rate.

Modeled after the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s, the bill would employ veterans on projects designed to leverage skills developed in the military in fields such as water safety, construction, GIS mapping and as park rangers.

The Veterans Conservation Corps Act would also address critical gaps in conservation and natural disaster assistance nationwide.

That includes addressing the $11.4 billion maintenance backlog in national parks; controlling and mitigating against thousands of annual deaths and injuries resulting from wildfires; and protecting national, state and tribal forests, coastal areas, wildlife refuges and cemeteries.

"Veterans deserve a voice — as do our endangered lands and waters," Polis said. "Our bill targets modern threats to public and environmental safety while also ensuring we effectively support those who have put their lives on the line in service to our country."

The initiative has been widely praised by veteran and environmental activists alike.

Colorado department receives Clean Air Excellence Award

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's efforts to reduce emissions from oil and gas activities received one of seven 2015 Clean Air Excellence Awards presented by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C.

The awards recognize cutting-edge efforts across the country to cut harmful air pollution.

"Through Gov. John Hickenlooper's leadership and the tireless efforts of our Air Pollution Control Division, Colorado took a big step toward solving an important issue facing our state," said Dr. Larry Wolk, the CDPHE's executive director and chief medical officer.

Air Pollution Control Division director Will Allison accepted the award for Regulatory and Policy Innovations on behalf of the department and said, "The department shares this award with the environmental community, the energy industry and other stakeholders who worked so hard to make this happen."

For more information on the clean air awards, visit: http://www.epa.gov/air/cleanairawards/index.html.

Send local environment news to reporter Alli Langley at alangley@summitdaily.com.

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