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The Top Environmental News Stories this June

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It’s no secret that all of us at Greenbox Self Storage are big advocates for the environment. Our facilities are solar powered and we practice a number of other green-business strategies such as paperless systems and biodegradable cleaning products. We believe the public needs to be informed on all issues concerning the environment in order to start making a real effort to preserve our beloved planet, country and state. That’s why we’ve gathered some of the top environmental news stories in the month of June and summarized them for a quick, informative read. We hope these stories will arouse interest in environmental sustainability and even action from our loyal readers and storage tenants.

 

Colorado Becomes the First Interior State to Pursue Advanced Clean Car Standards

On June 19th, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper announced an executive order directing Colorado air quality officials to adopt state advanced clean car standards. This came in response to the Trump administration’s expected rollback of federal rules. This executive order will give Coloradans strong safeguards from air pollution caused by gasoline and diesel vehicles.

The order will also save Coloradans money at the gas pump, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce pollutants from millions of vehicles.

“Transportation is the number two source of greenhouse gas emissions in Colorado -- and number one source of emissions in the nation. Adopting clean car standards means fewer bad air days and a better quality of life for citizens across our state.” - Garrett Garner-Wells, director of Environment Colorado.

 

Lead contamination in schools’ drinking water is worse than previously thought

According to water testing data from 20 states by Environment America and U.S. PIRG today, lead contamination in Colorado schools is more prevalent than previously thought. As schools begin summer break, the groups urge public officials to take swift action on this contamination.

This comes in the wake of the lead crisis in Flint, Michigan. Now, more and more schools have been testing for lead contamination. However, some states and school districts have only reported results above 15 parts per billion -- a federal standard that does not adequately protect public health because there is no safe level of lead.

In children, even low levels of lead exposure have been linked to damage to the central and peripheral nervous system, learning disabilities, shorter stature, impaired hearing, and impaired formation and function of blood cells.

 

Trump administration and fossil fuel industry push to open more public land for energy development in Colorado

The Trump administration is pushing to open more public land in Colorado for fossil fuel development, preparing to sell off access to minerals under 45,000 acres near a state park and bird habitat along the upper Colorado River.

Conservation groups are fighting in federal court and the federal Bureau of Land Management to block this leasing in already-drilled areas around De Beque, accusing the feds of skipping required environmental reviews.

White House officials say this will further reduce U.S. dependence on imported fossil fuels. U.S. companies are exporting more oil and gas after boosting production over the past 15 years.

“It requires a huge amount of water. It takes land that is important wildlife habitat, land that provides habitat for threatened and endangered species, rare plants. It takes water out of rivers that fish and people depend on,” says Peter Hart, staff attorney of Wilderness Workshop.

 

416 Fire Expands By 600 Acres Overnight

The fire spread about 600 acres Sunday night and is now almost 35,000 acres in size. That growth was largely in terrain that crews say is difficult to reach. Operations Section Chief Alex Robertson said in a Facebook update that officials are waiting for the fire to move out of the wilderness and into a road system.

Rain suppressed some aspects of the fire June 16 and 17 – causing a break from smoke-filled mornings – but large plumes of smoke have slowly returned, bringing a return to deteriorated air quality.

Weather conditions favorable to active fire behavior are expected to persist throughout the week with hot temperatures that could reach up to 94 degrees, low humidity values and high winds.

The 416 Fire has burned a total of 34,962 acres, mostly on the San Juan National Forest. It is listed at 37 percent containment. The cost to battle the blaze as of Monday was $22.9 million.

 

How Colorado and Wyoming are working together to clean up coal emissions

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead dedicated the country’s largest carbon capture test facility last month. The Integrated Test Center grabs the CO2 produced by coal emissions before they reach the atmosphere, and a Colorado electricity provider is a big backer of the project.

Capturing carbon dioxide from burning coal may sound futuristic, but the technology exists now. It's just very expensive to acquire, especially to a struggling industry. Carbon isn't the only issue with coal: Mining is still a dangerous occupation, with 15 deaths in the U.S. last year.

Where the Governor candidates stand on energy and the environment

 

Republicans

Walker Stapleton: Calls for a "stable business environment to ensure a low-cost energy supply that will attract and retain businesses in Colorado." Says he won't pursue "agenda-driven, burdensome, job-killing regulations." Wants better state-federal communication on how federal lands are managed. Says he is running because he fears a Democratic governor would "end the energy industry" in Colorado. (Colorado Independent)

Greg Lopez: Argues that the state coal industry "has been unfairly treated by bureaucrats" from out of state and reminds people that coal-fired plants are likely what's charging their electric cars. Does not think 100 percent renewable energy is feasible by 2040 and says diversification "remains the most prudent approach" to energy. (Colorado Independent)

Doug Robinson: Says the oil and gas industry "plays a vital role" in the state and can balance environmental protections "by supporting common sense regulations." Supports all-of-the-above energy strategy and says "it is not the role of government to pick winners and losers," in reference to a push for 100 percent renewable energy by 2040. (Colorado Independent)

Victor Mitchell: Says climate change "is likely real" and that the federal government should launch "moonshot" initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Says government also should not choose "winners and losers," either with subsidies or "excessive" taxes and regulations. Notes fossil fuels are currently most reliable and least expensive energy, but it could be different tomorrow. Calls preserving the environment, air quality and water supply "paramount to our future and quality of life."

Democrats

Cary Kennedy: Will "guarantee" all Colorado homes and businesses can choose 100 percent renewable energy and double the state renewable energy standard, which currently requires cooperative utilities to generate 20 percent of their electricity from renewables.

Jared Polis: Pledges to protect public lands from "Donald Trump and polluters." Will create path to 100 percent renewable energy as way to protect the environment and create "good-paying green jobs that can't be outsourced." Says 100 percent renewable energy is achievable "by 2040 or sooner." (Colorado Independent)

Donna Lynne: Advocates for a "'no slogans, balanced approach to energy production" that includes local control on where and how energy production happens, property rights, and people who work in extraction industries. Says "health and safety of all Coloradans is our top priority when we are dealing with energy and the environment."

Mike Johnston: Pledges 100 percent renewable energy by 2040. Wants to increase setbacks for oil and gas wells, cap orphan wells and "avoid drilling in ecologically sensitive areas."