ATM: Crested Butte Red Lady Coalition formed |

ATM: Crested Butte Red Lady Coalition formed

CRESTED BUTTE The line of battle in Crested Butte about a proposed molybdenum mine on Mt. Emmons is becoming more clear. Some 60 groups towns, homeowners associations, and environmental organizations have coalesced into something called the Red Lady Coalition. Red Lady is the informal name for the mountain.The coalition, led by John Norton, a special consultant to Crested Butte Mountain Resort, is asking for a review of the full potential of the mine over 70 years, what it calls the big bite.The owner of the mineral deposit, U.S. Energy Corp. and Kobex, wants to submit a 10-year plan that envisions extraction of only the highest-grade ore at a rate of 6,000 tons per day. If, after 10 years, the company wants to expand mining operations, it would then need additional approval from the U.S. Forest Service.A 70-year mining operation would have significantly greater socio-economic and environmental impacts than a mine lasting 10 years, said Norton.The coalition is drawing attention to concerns that the Gunnison River and its tributaries might be sullied.Molybdenum mine tailings from the Climax Mine are also found at the headwaters areas for Vail, Beaver Creek, and Frisco.While Crested Butte seems to teem with over-my-dead-body opposition, theres also a more moderate stance in the Gunnison Valley among those aware that it takes molybdenum to build ski lifts as well as steel edges on skis and snowboards.Yet another touch of irony is in Crested Buttes economic past. It is often described as a real town, as distinguished from a Vail or Snowmass Village. But the key physical difference is a result of its mining history. Before scenery started being a bankable commodity, Crested Butte was a coal-mining town, a vocation it continued until the 1950s.

OAK CREEK In Oak Creek, a town founded in 1907 because of its coal deposits, plans are being drawn up to end the burning of coal to heat local schools. Instead, ground-source heat pumps are to be installed, supplemented by propane gas.The school district, South Routt, is among only two of Colorados 179 districts to still use coal.The Steamboat Pilot & Today explains that the coal is messy, but also labor intensive. Somebody must shovel the ashes from the boiler morning, noon, and night, and again at bedtime altogether about five hours per day, resulting in enough ashes to fill three to five 55-gallon barrels.

TELLURIDE The San Miguel County commissioners are talking about a resolution that would call for the impeachment of President George W. Bush. Faced with a petition from residents of Telluride to that same effect, the Telluride Town Council adopted a similar resolution earlier this year.The countys talk was initiated by County Commissioner Art Goodtimes. He said he wants to adopt the impeachment resolution because of the apparent lack of effective protest to blunt this administrations push toward war with Iran, reports The Telluride Watch.I know its not our purview, but I would like us to take a solid look at whats being claimed or alleged, Goodtimes said. The commissioners are talking about public hearings, in both the ultra-liberal Telluride area and conservative-leaning Norwood.In addition to adopting budgets, reviewing ambulance equipment and other such things that county commissioners normally do, the San Miguel Commissioners at a recent meeting also adopted resolutions regarding the rights of indigenous peoples and another one in remembrance of the genocide of Armenians during World War I.

ASPEN Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan has taken his 56,000-square-foot-home near Aspen off the market. The price tag had been $135 million.But he has sold an ancillary property, a 14,000-square-foot house located on 66.5 acres. The sales price was $36.5 million. The Aspen Times says that may be the highest price ever paid for a single-family home in the Aspen area.Two much larger sales have been recorded in recent years, says the Times, but for larger properties: $47 million for a 949-acre ranch and $46 million for a 650-acre ranch.The Aspen Times reports that documents link the sale to the Soffers, a prominent family in Florida that has developed a Florida project called Aventura, as well as a high-rise condo community in Las Vegas.

VAIL Theres some kickback in Vail to a proposal to replace an older lift, Chair 5, with a high-speed quad lift. The lift lines there are legendary, often 45 minutes on powder days. The new high-speed lift will reduce or eliminate lift lines, allowing skiers to yo-yo in Vails famous Back Bowls far more rapidly.But Tony Ryerson, in a letter published in the Vail Daily, maintains that faster is not always better. Lost, he says, will be one of the last areas on Vail Mountain of non-bump but expert-level terrain. More skiers, he says, will also cause less sense of serenity and the feeling of ones smallness relative to the area around you that are the very essence of skiing.Sundown Express will destroy forever the kind of natural Back Bowl skiing that has set us apart from the rest of the countrys ski areas, and replace it with that homogenized, rushed skiing that requires us now to wear helmets and constantly check over our shoulders lest we get hit.

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