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Local news roundup with The Colorado Sun - 6/16/2022

J. Stephen Conn/Flickr Creative Commons

KUNC is introducing a new segment on Morning Edition. Every Tuesday and Thursday, KUNC’s Samantha Coetzee will be talking local news with colleagues at the Colorado Sun. Today she spoke to Colorado Sun environment writer Michael Booth.

Interview Highlights:
These interview highlights have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Samantha Coetzee: As we’ve been reporting, Colorado River Basin states are starting to have to make cuts to avoid letting important reservoirs dry up. Can you tell us more about this?

Michael Booth: Yes, Chris Outcault let us know this week that federal officials are giving the alarming news that 2 to 4 million acre feet of water will be missing from the Colorado River availability in next year's season. That's a huge amount of water if you want to know how much we're talking about. That’s up to 25% of the river volume that 40 million people in the West depend on in seven states. And so now the fighting really begins over who's going to be giving up that water. Is it going to be California? Is it going to be Arizona? Is it going to be us here in Colorado? Who makes those decisions and who's going to lose out first?

Residents and environmental advocates are pushing to get rid of the Cemex quarry in Longmont. Now, Cemex is offering a deal. Can you tell us more about that?

Anybody who has driven through Boulder County, who lives in Boulder County, who has been to Rocky Mountain National Park or a music festival in Lyons has seen the Cemex plant — both the quarry on the north side of road and the smokestacks for its cement kiln on the south side of the road. And they are offering a deal where they’ll close the cement kiln, which could go on forever theoretically and spills a lot of air pollution into the air above Boulder County and above Colorado. They will give a certain closure date to that in 2037 in exchange for the county letting them continue mining on the north side of the highway for that same 15 years. They're sweetening the deal by saying they will give options on open space land to Boulder County if they approve this deal so that Boulder can stitch together some pretty sweet open space, parks and trails, and they'll even cut the price on it.

So now the county residents have to decide what kind of bargains they want from this. Are they willing to allow the cement kiln to continue burning coal and other fossil fuels for a long period of time in exchange for what could for them for a long time in the future be great space?

Talk to me about the primaries in the new 8th Congressional District.

That 8th Congressional District is going to be fascinating. And Shannon Najmabadi, Sandra Fish and Jesse Paul are writing amazing stories about what's going on there with the Republican candidates who are trying to make a name for themselves in the primary. And they face the classic primary dilemma, which is to get their name out there and to attract the kinds of primary voters who are most motivated and potentially most conservative and perhaps extremist to the polls. They need to appeal to them.

But on the other hand, when you get to the general election, you've got mostly unaffiliated voters in that district and you've got to appeal to some independents. And so how far do you go and where do you draw the line on what you're going to do in the primary versus what you do in the general?

And then, of course, the Democrats are coming in. They've already got their candidate. They've decided on one person already, and they've decided to not hold back their spending money, but they're spending money on the Republican side. And so what they're doing in that race and in the governor's race and some other races around the country is trying to promote what they see as the most extreme Republican candidate and try to nominate on the Republican side to help nominate what is the most unelectable general election candidate. And so that money is piling in from national sources and state sources and it's going to really mix things up in the district.

More on this reporting can be found at ColoradoSun.com

As the host of Morning Edition at KUNC, I have the privilege of delivering you the news in two ways — from behind the mic and behind the scenes. In addition to hosting Morning Edition, I’ll report on pressing news of the day and arts and culture on the Front Range.