Environment

A congressional committee is focusing on a little known environmental law Thursday.

 


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has come up with an interim plan to hold back some of the toxic heavy metals that spill into rivers from old southwestern Colorado mining sites.

Courtesy of David Abelson

Court documents in a pending lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service say trails at the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge in northern Colorado will be closed until at least Sept. 15.

President Trump just dismantled policies requiring federal agencies reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions and meet other environmental targets.


Matt Bloom/KUNC

Standing at the edge of the Cache La Poudre River in Fort Collins, Boyd Wright adjusted his sunglasses against the bright sunlight. He pointed to the Fossil Creek ditch, a diversion structure dividing the waterway.

Luke Runyon / KUNC

The biggest lake in California is shrinking.

The Salton Sea occupies a hot, desert basin a short drive from the Mexico border and it’s been evaporating for years. From the air the lake is pear-shaped, bordered by an intense concentration of farms growing winter vegetables on its south end, and date palms, citrus and brussels sprouts to the north. It’s sustained by the Colorado River water that passes through these farms as irrigation before flowing into the 350 square mile lake.

The fact the lake is disappearing isn’t a shock. Its ever-widening shoreline is tied to a deal billed as a the single largest transfer of agricultural water to a municipal area in history. For at least 15 years, authorities in California have known this would happen.

Pete McBride / U.S. Geological Survey

In 2014, the Colorado River did something it hadn’t done in decades. For a few short weeks that spring, the overdrawn, overallocated river reached the Pacific Ocean.

Instead of diverting the river’s last bit of water toward farm fields, the final dam on the Colorado River at the Mexican border lifted, and water inundated nearly 100 miles of the dry riverbed. It was called the pulse flow, meant to mimic a spring flood.


Photo courtesy of Eco-Cycle

Colorado lags behind the nation when it comes to recycling. According to a new report, the state’s recycling rate is 12 percent, far below the national average of 34 percent.

“It’s America Recycles Day, but unfortunately Colorado is downright trashy,” said Danny Katz, director of the Colorado Public Interest Research Group. “We might think of ourselves as a green state, but on average, each Coloradan is putting seven pounds of trash a day in landfills.”