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Colorado Edition: Climate Controversies

Amy Gray
Mountain West News Bureau
A parachute painted for the Colorado Springs youth climate strike.

Today on Colorado Edition: we'll learn about the Northern Integrated Supply Project proposal, and why it's controversial. Plus, why a veteran decided to write a children's book. We'll also look at research spending at local universities, and discuss the role of climate change in Colorado's senate race. 

News of the Day:

  • Longmont Declares Climate Emergency - The city of Longmont has declared a climate emergency, joining a host of other communities across the country including Fort Collins, Basalt, Boulder and two counties, Pitkin and Boulder. City council voted unanimously on the move, declaring Longmont's "intent to take immediate and accelerated action to address the climate change crisis." Citizens addressing city council referenced Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and one even pulled out a guitar, for a serenade to Earth. 
  • Right To Die Lawsuit - A Colorado doctor who was fired after trying to help a terminally ill man obtain drugs to end his life has filed an updated lawsuit that challenges her firing by a Christian hospital company. In the case against Centura Health filed Monday, Dr. Barbara Morris alleges it retaliated against her in violation of Colorado's assisted suicide law, and that it unlawfully inserted itself in the doctor-patient relationship. Colorado law prohibits corporations from interfering with a physician's professional judgement. Morris was fired in August after she and her patient Neil Mahoney asked a judge to say whether Centura could stop her from helping him. He has sought help elsewhere and isn't part of the lawsuit anymore. 
  • Public Health Insurance Option - Colorado has unveiled a plan for a public health insurance option, which officials say could lower premiums for some residents. The state wants to set a maximum reimbursement rate for hospitals and offer the public insurance plans on the individual market, which is used by about 8% of Coloradans. The plans would be run through private insurance companies. Officials in the state's Division of Insurance predict the new plans would bring down premiums by as much as 18%, starting in 2022. But some health care providers are concerned. The Colorado Hospital Association says the insurance market could be "destabilized" if enough people switch to the new plans. They also worry about their reimbursement rates being set by the state. Lawmakers will take up the proposal in January. 

Northern Integrated Supply Project

Credit U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Site for the proposed Glade reservoir north of Fort Collins. The storage lake would be approximately the size of Horsetooth Reservoir.

An open house in Fort Collins will take place Wednesday night about the controversial Northern Integrated Supply Project, or NISP. Depending on who you ask, it's either a much-needed water lifeline for communities on the fast-growing Front Range, or it's a project that isn't needed and will hurt ecosystems along the Poudre River. 

KUNC's Luke Runyon joins us to tell us what we need to know about this project. 

Veteran Turned Author Writes Children's Book

Credit Michael de Yoanna / KUNC

When a child sees someone in a military uniform, you might be surprised at what they want to know first. That was the case for former Army officer Erin Morris. She took kids' questions and turned them into a book for children.

KUNC's Michael de Yoanna has more on this veteran turned author.   

Research Spending At Colorado Universities

The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs is one of four campuses that will benefit from the $1.5 billion campaign.
Credit University of Colorado
The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs is one of four campuses that will benefit from the $1.5 billion campaign.

Colorado State University recently announced that its research activity is at a record high, with research spending hitting almost $400 million for the last fiscal year. 

And it's not the only university in our area that is spending a lot of money on research. The University of Colorado said that last fiscal year it spent $1.2 billion across its four campuses.

BizWest's Dan Mika joins us to explain what this means.  

Climate Change And The Senate Race

Credit Colorado Senate GOP / Flickr - Creative Commons
Flickr - Creative Commons

More Coloradans are thinking about climate change as a serious issue, and that's changing how voters are approaching the upcoming 2020 senate race.

We discuss what this means with Jesse Paul, writer for The Colorado Sun, who reported on the growing block of climate change voters.

We also talk withMark Smith, a professor at Colorado College, who recently attended the Senate Forum on Climate Change held in Colorado Springs this past weekend. 

Colorado Edition is made possible with support from our KUNC members. Thank you!

Our theme music was composed by Colorado musicians Briana Harris and Johnny Burroughs. Other music this week by Blue Dot Sessions:

  • "Take a Tiny Train" by Ray Catcher
  • "Molly Molly" by Barstool
  • "Wingspan" by Bayou Birds
  • "Peacoat" by Studio J
  • "Tar and Spackle" by Vacant Distillery

This episode is hosted by Erin O'Toole (@ErinOtoole1) and Lily Tyson. The web was edited by digital editor Jackie Hai. News director Catherine Welch and managing editor Brian Larson contributed to this episode.

KUNC's Colorado Edition is a daily news magazine taking an in-depth look at the issues and culture of Northern Colorado. It's available on our website, as well as on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can hear the show on KUNC's air, Monday through Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

Stories written by KUNC newsroom staff.