A truce, scintillating paperwork, and a $50 million war on fish

Three from Fellows today: From Kirk Siegler at KUNC public radio in Colorado:

Group proposes truce in Western Slope drilling battle

In western Colorado, there’s a new twist in the battle over plans to open up a scenic area near Carbondale to oil and gas drilling as a local conservation group has now offered to pay several companies not to develop leases they hold in the area.

Environmentalists have long lobbied to keep oil and gas companies out of the Thompson Divide area – a swath of largely undeveloped high-desert land between Carbondale and Paonia.

Now a group called the Thompson Divide Coalition is offering to reimburse several companies for the money they’ve invested toward developing leases thus far in exchange for letting them expire.  The group says it could pay more than $2 million... Read more.

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From Sarah Gilman at High Country News, a meditation on a refinery's PR efforts - or lack thereof - when a spill is reported:

Uncontrolled release

This scintillating-looking snippet of paperwork was pulled from the PR portion of a materials containment plan filed with the state of Colorado by Suncor Energy’s oil refinery in Commerce City, which produces about 90,000 barrels a day of gasoline, diesel and asphalt. It was supplied to High Country News by Jeremy Nichols of WildEarth Guardians, who obtained it from the state. If I were to fill it out based on early reports of an ongoing incident at Sand Creek, a tributary of the South Platte River, which is a primary water source for northeastern Colorado, it might read something like this:

At 10:16 a.m. on Nov. 27 2011, an oily sheen -- possibly resulting from a spill -- was reported on Sand Creek downstream of Suncor’s Commerce City refinery north of Denver. The substance’s nature has yet to be determined, but it was accompanied by a “chocolaty sludge” and a strong petroleum odor.

Except that info didn’t come from the company... Read more.

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And from John Flesher with the AP in Michigan, more news on Asian carp:

Feds plan to spend $50M on carp fight

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) -- The Obama administration will spend about $50 million this year to shield the Great Lakes from greedy Asian carp, including first-time water sampling to determine whether the destructive fish have established a foothold in Lakes Michigan and Erie, officials said Thursday.

An updated federal strategy for preventing an invasion also includes stepped-up trapping and netting in rivers that could provide access to the lakes, as well as initial field tests of chemicals that could lure carp to where they could be captured, officials told The Associated Press ahead of an official announcement planned for later in the day. An acoustic water gun that could scare the carp away from crucial locations will be tested near a Chicago-area shipping lock that some want closed because it could serve as a doorway to Lake Michigan... Read more.