Coyote Gulch


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  Thursday, April 12, 2007


TPM Cafe: "But I also think it's important to be clear-eyed about single-payer. And since we've all been talking about the virtues of single-payer, let's look at some of the more valid objections - even though they are not typically the ones that dominate the debate.

"One is about setting prices. In a single-payer system, the government plays a much more direct role in setting prices. This raises fairness issues. If doctors and hospitals think a particular insurer isn't paying enough, they can demand higher reimbursements and, failing that, simply refuse to see that insurer's patients. But if they think the government isn't paying enough, they really have no such option.

"There are also efficiency questions: Will the government allocate its dollars - whether through price-setting or some sort of global budgeting - in a way that maximizes the public interest? You don't have to be a card-carrying libertarian to believe that, as a general rule, the market probably sets prices better than the government will."

"2008 pres"
8:09:34 PM     


Josh Marshall: "I can say that I am very confident, very confident that that reporter is correct and that orders from Pat Fitzgerald were the reason for the change in White House policy in 2004. So the change in policy was tied to yet another criminal investigation of the White House. And the White House and the key employees in question -- namely Karl Rove and people working for him at the White House political office -- were specifically on notice not to destroy the emails they sent through the RNC servers. And yet they took affirmative steps to continuing destroying them, even after all of this had happened."

"2008 pres"
8:04:13 PM     

? for President?

Captain's Quarters: "The Los Angeles Times reports on its latest polling for the Republican presidential primaries, and the only one who should be smiling is the scowlin' Volunteer, Fred Thompson. Rudy Giuliani polls at less than 30%, while McCain drops behind his good friend into a distant third place."

"2008 pres"
6:53:51 PM     

R.I.P. Kurt Vonnegut
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Adios Mr. Vonnegut.

6:29:23 PM     

Coyote Gulch outage

Our hosting service is having problems this morning. If you're seeing this things have cleared up.

7:08:13 AM     

2008 Democratic National Convention
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Howard Dean is in Denver today to rally the troops for the 2008 Democratic National convention (and do some damage control with local union leaders), according to the Denver Post. From the article, "He'll meet this morning with AFL-CIO president John Sweeney, whose labor federation called for the convention to be moved, before addressing a crowd of supporters at an 11 a.m. rally at Denver's downtown convention center. The uncomfortable juxtaposition of meetings for the Democratic National Committee chairman underscores a central problem that Dean must overcome to launch a presidential candidate. Leaders of the AFL-CIO and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters have criticized the state as being unfriendly toward unions. Dean wants to settle the labor disputes quickly. Dean's predicament, experts say, also is an opportunity for unions to win concessions from state and local governments...

"Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa threatened that protests could 'blow up' convention week. But some local unions say they are taken aback by national labor's harsh words and insist they will use the opportunity for civility and coalition building. The local prize would likely be gains for government workers, experts say, as Democrats would have little sway over private employers. An oft-mentioned goal is a 2008 initiative to win collective- bargaining rights for 32,000-plus state workers. Though many states recognize such rights, they are less common in the Interior West. The New Mexico Legislature recently gave its state workers collective-bargaining powers. Montana workers also have them. Winning Colorado workers those rights could help unions point to new victories and build momentum."

"2008 pres"
7:02:28 AM     

EPA: San Luis Valley - EPA Friends of Environmental Protection Award
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According to WebWire, "Since June 2005, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been working in partnership with the citizens of San Luis Valley, Colo., to ensure clean and safe drinking water from their household drinking water wells. To recognize the community for its initiative and collaborative effort, EPA officials will travel to the San Luis Valley on April 12, 2007, to present six community leaders of the San Luis Valley with the U.S. EPA Friends of Environmental Protection Award for 'outstanding environmental stewardship and outstanding environmental education in a rural setting.' The San Luis Valley Drinking Water Well Project is the first regional project to provide free sampling and analysis of drinking water from private wells. It is estimated that 30 percent of the San Luis Valley area residents are not served by public water systems and obtain their water from household wells...

"Water testing results indicate that 28.5% of household wells were positive for bacteria, 1.4% for nitrates, 11.9% for arsenic, 1.4% lead, 3.1% for uranium, and 3.6% for fluoride. Participants with positive bacteria test results were instructed on how to apply the shock chlorination technique to make their drinking water safe. Participants were also provided information on point of use treatment systems, such as reverse osmosis. EPA estimates that of the 400 households participating in this project, more than 70 percent have taken steps to treat their drinking water...

"Further information on this Community Drinking Water Well Project is available on the EPA web page.

"colorado water"
6:40:48 AM     

HB 1329
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From Environment Colorado, "A measure to protect and improve Colorado water quality passed the first of two votes by the House of Representatives today. Sponsored by Representative Kathleen Curry (D) and Senator Betty Boyd (D), the measure (HB07-1329, Concerning Fees for Water Quality Programs) is designed to increase funding for the Water Quality Control Division to ensure clean, safe drinking water for all of Colorado. The measure will fund new full time staff members at the Water Quality Control Division by establishing and modifying fees paid for various permits by water providers and wastewater dischargers. Many of these fees were cut after the 2003 budget shortage; this bill will reinstate them and ensure that the Division is on a path towards fiscal security...

"Environment Colorado's Clean Water Advocate Stephanie Thomas explained that due to the staffing shortage at the Water Quality Control Division, the Division is unable to adequately enforce water quality protection regulations and statutes. Recent estimates by the Division are that the Division needs a minimum of 33 additional employees. Estimates from national models developed by the EPA and state experts across the nation say that the Division may need as many as 80 additional staff members to ensure adequate protection of Colorado's waters. Thomas noted that 'this bill keeps us on the right path, though it doesn't get us all the way there. Nonetheless,' she said, 'the bill provides more funding for new employees and will definitely increase the ability of the Division to adequately enforce and monitor statewide water quality issues.'"

"colorado water"
6:29:13 AM     

Regional Watershed Supply Project
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Aaron Million was up in Wyoming at the meeting of the Upper Green River Water Basin Joint Powers Board talking about his proposed Regional Watershed Supply Project, according to the Green River Star. From the article, "After the Upper Green River Water Basin Joint Powers Board met Monday afternoon, Aaron Million and Jeff Fassett presented a proposal for a water pipeline to carry water from the Flaming Gorge Reservoir to the north front range of Colorado...

"According to Fassett, BuRec took into consideration updated hydrology, base flow requirements, population growth and future depletions for Wyoming, Utah and Colorado. 'The bureau has done some extensive accounting for this,' Fassett said. The model used for the study was based on the last 83 years of recorded history on the river, reservoir and the outlying area. Fassett agrees the pipeline will cause some changes in the Annual Operating Plan of the reservoir, but does not foresee any major problems."

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

"colorado water"
6:19:09 AM     

Gazette: Colorado Springs has worked in good faith to craft a regional consensus
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The Preferred Storage Option Plan (PSOP) for Pueblo Reservoir and other storage legislation is the subject of this opinion piece from the Colorado Springs Gazette. From the article, "They say blood is thicker than water. But in an increasingly thirsty Colorado, where water wars erupt at the drop of a 10-gallon-hat, that's currently being tested in a very tangible way. Maybe the Salazar brothers are playing a game of good cop, bad cop with Colorado Springs, given that they seem to be working at cross purposes on a piece of legislation that's critical to the future of this community. Sen. Ken Salazar has shown admirable leadership on pushing the process forward, but his brother, Rep. John Salazar, seems determined to be a fly in the ointment. Much is riding on whether they can work out their differences and produce a compromise bill. The 'good cop,' Ken, seems sincerely interested in breaking through an impasse that has stalled a congressional measure that would study the future expansion of Pueblo Reservoir and allow the Bureau of Reclamation to enter into long-term storage contracts with non-project parties. This is a potential winwin for the entire region, given the need for more water storage and the difficulty of building major new water projects. But brother John, the 'bad cop' who represents a sprawling 3rd Congressional District that includes Pueblo, recently rolled out a bill (HR-1833) that seems designed to fracture whatever regional consensus has been painstakingly achieved by disregarding agreements that hold it together. He's obviously pandering to a few die-hard water warriors in Pueblo who want to deny Colorado Springs the use of a water project, and water rights, we paid for. John Salazars' bill has surface similarities to the Preferred Storage Options measure that had been tantalizingly close to action in the past, only to stall due to regional divisions and a failure of leadership in Washington. The bill would authorize the Department of the Interior to study the feasibility of expanding Pueblo Reservoir, but it contains new twists that could endlessly delay expansion and potentially undermine a carefully crafted consensus...

"John Salazars' bill has surface similarities to the Preferred Storage Options measure that had been tantalizingly close to action in the past, only to stall due to regional divisions and a failure of leadership in Washington. The bill would authorize the Department of the Interior to study the feasibility of expanding Pueblo Reservoir, but it contains new twists that could endlessly delay expansion and potentially undermine a carefully crafted consensus. It would bar the Bureau of Reclamation from entering into new storage contracts with out-of-basin entities, except with unreasonable conditions attached, even though out-of-basin entities, including Aurora, already make some use of Fryingpan-Arkansas Project assets. It requires that entities that benefit from out-of-basin transfers somehow compensate water conservancy districts in the basin for the losses, without explaining exactly how that would work (or what it would cost). And the bill prohibits any action on reservoir expansion until a new series of studies is completed, focusing on the social, economic, environmental and 'cultural' impacts out-of-basin water transfers might have in the Arkansas Valley. As if that weren't sufficient studying, flood control alternatives on Fountain Creek also must be studied. The bill even suggests that some of this research be done by Colorado State University-Pueblo, sweetening the package with a little pork."

More Coyote Gulch coverage of PSOP the Southern Delivery System and the Pueblo Reservoir expansion.

"colorado water"
6:09:54 AM     

Arkansas River Basin roundtable update
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The Arkansas Valley roundtable hopes to look at project requests for funding from the Colorado Water Conservation Board and set priorities, according to the Pueblo Chieftain. From the article, "The Arkansas Basin Roundtable is taking a step back in order to move ahead. For the next three months, roundtable members are going to re-evaluate their expectations for the group and tighten up procedures for submitting grant requests to the Colorado Water Conservation Board. 'By July, we need to set some priorities for the basin, and we[base ']ll kick off the process today to formalize our procedures,' said Alan Hamel, president. 'It would be valuable for us as a basin to move forward.'[...]

"During the opening rounds of funding, there are relatively few requests because the roundtable structure is new. Over four years, $40 million will be available for projects through mineral severance taxes. That may not be enough to fund all potential projects, Brown stressed. During the process, some projects might be steered to other, more appropriate funds as well, Brown said. However, the state and roundtables need to find a process to redirect such applications."

"colorado water"
5:48:22 AM     

Northern Colorado water outlook
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Water supplies are looking OK up in northern Colorado, according to the Greeley Tribune "reg". From the article, "Strong flows on the South Platte River and close-to-average snowpack in the mountains bodes adequate water supplies for the spring growing season. That is unless dry weather grips the region, and there are signs it could. Water officials announced a mostly optimistic outlook at the spring water users meeting of the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District at The Ranch on Wednesday morning. While Colorado's overall snowpack was 76 percent of average on April 1, snow levels were at 95 percent and 102 percent, respectively, in the Upper Colorado River and South Platte River tributaries -- key water supplies for the region...

"Jim Hall, an engineer with the Colorado Division of Water Resources, said reservoirs along the South Platte on the eastern plains are full. They were only at 12 percent of capacity on Nov. 1. Hall said flows on the South Platte are still below average and have been for five years, but spring flows taken in Kersey and Julesburg are encouraging. Only the North Sterling Reservoir along the river's main stem in the eastern plains is shy of capacity...

"The conservancy district is delivering water at a 60 percent quota. That means Colorado-Big Thompson Project water users get six-tenths of an acre-foot for every unit they own...The board of directors may decide to boost the quota to 70 or 80 percent by the end of this week. Last spring, the quota was set at 80 percent. If the quota is set that high, Greeley will get more water than it can store and will lease the excess to area farmers. Last summer, the city leased 11,000 acre-feet of water, said Jon Monson, Greeley's director of water and sewer."

"colorado water"
5:39:34 AM     

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