Coyote Gulch


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  Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Captain's Quarters: "If the New York Times editorial page did not exist, the Onion would have to make it up for entertainment. Today the Gray Lady tackles the immigration compromise, lauding it for its bipartisan nature -- while casting its opponents as vitriolic haters:"

"2008 pres"
9:12:47 PM     

Green Mountain releases
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From email from the Bureau of Reclamation (Kara Lamb): "Well, the peak has passed. Run off in the Blue River basin seems to be slowing down. In response, on Saturday, we scaled releases back by 200 cfs from 1250 to 1050. Today, we scaled back another 200 cfs. Flows in the Lower Blue should be around 850 cfs."

"colorado water"
8:05:38 PM     


Andrew Sullivan: "Of all the many tragic paradoxes of the Iraq war, the latest one is arguably the most worrying. Yes, we invaded a country to secure weapons of mass destruction that were not there. Yes, we deposed a man for killing thousands of his subjects, only to unleash murder of innocents on a wider, unstoppable scale. Yes, we invaded to create democracy, but have rendered the concept of democracy in the Middle East synonymous with mass death, chaos and anarchy. But the latest twist is a real zinger. A war to defeat terrorism has actually massively increased its prevalence in the last two years, and is now creating a terror-factory to murder more innocents across the globe, including here. That terror factory is Bush's Iraq."

Josh Marshall: "There's a very troubling, but not very surprising article in today's Times about the outward flow of jihadists from Iraq into neighboring countries. Lebanon, Jordan are cited as examples. But one could likely list all the neighboring states and Europe and the United States as destinations for fighters either trained in the Iraqi insurgency or wielding methods honed there against American troops."

"2008 pres"
4:54:38 PM     

? for President?

Political Wire: "A new batch of American Research Group polls give the edge to Sen. Hillary Clinton in all three early states of the 2008 presidential race. Sen. Barack Obama has slipped to third place behind John Edwards in each state, while Bill Richardson is up in Iowa and New Hampshire...On the Republican side, strong support from independents give John McCain a boost. And while Mitt Romney is doing well in Iowa, he's not making much progress in South Carolina."

"2008 pres"
4:52:10 PM     

? for President?

Political Wire: "'My favorite team has always been the Red Sox. I'm also a Yankees fan... This is the thing about me. I can bring people together.' -- New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, quoted by the Boston Globe, losing the New England vote."

Political Wire: "Mitt Romney 'has surged into the lead in polls in two early voting states -- Iowa and New Hampshire,' reports The Politico. 'But, for some strange reason, Romney has fallen short in his struggle to rise above single digits in South Carolina...Why? There is concern among the state's social conservatives because Romney is from liberal Massachusetts. Others fear his switcheroo on social issues, adopting conservative stances, is nothing but political window dressing. And then there are the evangelicals -- a third of the GOP primary vote -- some of whom consider his Mormon faith a cult.'"

"2008 pres"
7:35:16 AM     

Healthcare "I thought this was interesting. It appears that two different healthcare lobby groups are using a strategy of grassroots and media campaigns in early primary states."

"2008 pres"
7:33:30 AM     


The Denver Post recaps U.S. Senator Ken Salazar's influence on the recent compromise immigration bill. From the article:

Salazar said the compromise couldn't have happened without the work of all senators who met for hours a day over the past three months. But others described Salazar as a central player who helped move factions toward the center. "He's been the real heart and soul of the agreement," said Sen. Mel Martinez, a Florida Republican. Salazar's involvement thrust him into the spotlight. The state's junior senator, in the third year of his first term, spent several hours last week managing the immigration debate on the Senate floor. He appeared prominently at news conferences with powerful longtime Sens. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Arlen Specter, R-Pa., and Jon Kyl, R-Ariz. Behind the scenes, he met with President Bush to talk about immigration several times. The morning that senators struggled to piece together the immigration compromise, Bush called Salazar and urged agreement on legislation. Salazar's role has also generated thousands of phone calls, e-mails and letters to his office, with about 60 percent criticizing his position on immigration, his office said.

Opposite political camps have attacked the compromise bill. Some conservatives decry it as "amnesty" because it allows an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants to stay in the country legally. They would have to pay fines and meet other requirements. Some liberals have condemned a new temporary- worker program because it doesn't offer a path to citizenship. Democrats also don't like the new system for issuing green cards, which removes an existing preference given to family members of U.S. residents in favor of rewarding education. Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., met with President Bush and other party leaders last week, trying to change part of what Salazar helped put together...

Senators left Washington on Friday for a week-long break. They'll return Monday and head toward a vote on the immigration bill. Both Allard and Salazar believe it ultimately will pass. [U.S. Senator Wayne Allard] hasn't yet decided how he'll vote on the bill because amendments are still being offered. Bush, Allard said, is pushing Republicans to back the agreement because immigration reform is a key domestic policy initiative. "I think he'll sign anything we'll send him," Allard said. "He just wants an immigration bill."

"2008 pres"
7:22:19 AM     

Energy policy: Oil shale development
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Here's a article about the potential oil shale industry from the Bloomberg News. They write:

Colorado and Utah have as much oil as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Venezuela, Nigeria, Kuwait, Libya, Angola, Algeria, Indonesia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates combined. That's not science fiction. Trapped in limestone up to 200 feet (61 meters) thick in the two Rocky Mountain states is enough so-called shale oil to rival OPEC and supply the U.S. for a century. Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp., the two biggest U.S. energy companies, and Royal Dutch Shell Plc are spending $100 million a year testing new methods to separate the oil from the stone for as little as $30 a barrel. A growing number of industry executives and analysts say new technology and persistently high prices make the idea feasible...

The U.S. imports two-thirds of its oil, spending $300 billion a year, or 40 percent of the record trade deficit. Every $10 increase in a barrel of crude costs an American household $700 a year, according to the Rand Corp., founded in 1946 to provide research for the U.S. military. Oil prices have risen 63 percent since 2004 and higher fuel costs have slowed growth in the world's largest economy to the lowest in four years. The last effort to exploit the Colorado and Utah shale fields foundered in the 1980s after crude prices tumbled 72 percent, resulting in a multibillion dollar loss for Exxon. Techniques developed to coax crude from tar sands in Alberta, 1,600 miles (2,500 kilometers) to the north, may help the U.S. projects' engineers...

In the high desert near Rifle, Colorado, Shell engineers are burying hundreds of steel rods 2,000 feet underground that will heat the shale to 700 degrees Fahrenheit (370 degrees Celsius), a temperature at which Teflon melts. The heat will be applied for the next four years to convert the hydrocarbons from dead plants and plankton, once part of a prehistoric lake, into high-quality crude that is equal parts jet fuel, diesel and naphtha, the main ingredient in gasoline.

Chevron, which helped build the Saudi Arabian energy industry when it struck oil in the kingdom in 1938, plans to shatter 200-foot thick layers of shale deep underground, said Robert Lestz, the company's oil-shale technology manager. Rather than using heat to transform the shale into crude, Chevron plans to saturate the rubble with chemicals to convert it. The method will reduce power needs and production costs, Lestz said in a May 24 interview. Using chemical reactions to get oil from shale also means fewer byproducts such as ash and fewer greenhouse gases, he said...

Raytheon Co., the maker of Tomahawk missiles and the first microwave ovens, is developing a process that would use radio waves to cook the shale. Irving, Texas-based Exxon Mobil plans to shoot particles of petroleum coke, a waste byproduct of oil refining, into cracks in the shale. The coke will be electrically charged to create a subterranean hot plate that will cook the shale until it turns into crude. The company declined to discuss the progress of its oil shale tests...

Skeptics of the potential for shale oil include Cathy Kay, an organizer for the environmental group Western Colorado Congress, who says the techniques will drain water supplies, scar the landscape and require so much power the skies will be choked with smoke from coal-fed generators.

Shell, based in the Hague, estimates it can extract oil from Colorado shale for $30 a barrel, less than half today's price of $66 for benchmark New York futures. Shell's process includes surrounding each shale field with an underground wall of ice. The so-called freeze walls are to prevent groundwater from swamping the heating rods and to protect the local water supply from contamination as the organic material in the rocks turns to oil, according to Terry O'Connor, the Shell vice president in charge of the company's Colorado shale project...

Drillers, pipe-makers and metal fabricators such as Nabors Industries Ltd. and closely-held UOP LLC will be the first to profit as Shell, Chevron and Exxon drill thousands of wells a half-mile underground by 2011...

Oil companies also are exploring shale fields in Jordan, Morocco and Australia, though preliminary assessments indicate none is as oil-rich as the Colorado and Utah deposits. The final approval for full-scale projects in the U.S. won't be made until after 2010.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

"2008 pres"
7:08:29 AM     

Colorado Water Workshop
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Here's an article about last week's Colorado Water Workshop from the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. They write:

Water experts are urging conservation in the face of irrefutable global warming that is threatening the supply of arguably the earth's most precious resource. But the picture is bleak in the West because flows into Lake Powell, Lake Mead and the Sierra Nevada snowpack are far below normal, severely affecting future water supplies for Southern California, many of whose cities are fed by Colorado River water, said Mark Bird, a former Department of Interior water planner. Bird, who made his remarks last week at the Colorado Water Workshop at Western State College, also warned of a potential economic collapse in California because of future water shortages. Ecosystems in the Colorado River delta and California's Mono Lake and Salton Sea are collapsing, said Bird, who now teaches at the Community College of Southern Nevada...

Bird called for the federal government to require all the Colorado River Basin states to curtail water consumption by 5 percent effective in July. That would encourage water conservation and force the states to invent solutions to their water woes, he said. But Colorado River Water Conservation District General Manager Eric Kuhn said while rising temperatures in the West are nearly a sure thing, projections about how much precipitation the West will receive in a warmer world aren't conclusive. That means water shortages may not end up as dire as some fear. Too many people, using too much water is the real cause of water supply shortages in states such as California and Nevada, not drought, Kuhn said."

"colorado water"
6:51:41 AM     

CSU-Pueblo's new inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer
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Here's an update on Colorado State - Pueblo's recently acquired inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer, being used to study water quality in Fountain Creek, from the Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

During a recent presentation to the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District, which paid $100,000 toward the purchase of the machine, researcher Del Nimmo was able to concentrate on specific problem areas along Fountain Creek by isolating readings of selenium and zinc along specified reaches. The data were from three readings taken less than a month earlier, providing a tool for quick assessment that[base ']s never been available in the past, Nimmo said...

Already, CSU-Pueblo has received inquiries from Colorado Division of Wildlife, U.S. Forest Service and other agencies about the machine. It could be useful in sampling coal-bed methane water, a new potential source of water under state and federal scrutiny. Preliminary data from the first readings show that zinc is being loaded into Fountain Creek at a development site in the southwest portion of Colorado Springs, and selenium in water sampled under sediments near the Las Vegas wastewater treatment plant. Researchers also found a spike of selenium levels just north of Pueblo, where they are known to exist, but the new readings will fine-tune understanding of how selenium enters the waterways. Herrmann said the instrument will help in identifying whether selenium is occurring in the oxidized states that are most harmful to fish and birds. Eventually, researchers will be able to hunt for "estrogen mimics" that occur in parts per trillion and may be responsible for interfering with gender in fish, Herrmann said...

A quartz cone about 6 inches long and an inch thick must be constantly cooled with water in order to avoid being vaporized itself while the argon gas is being burned, Carsella said. Inside the cone, misted water from the sample is vaporized into elements. An inductive coil is coupled with the plasma torch and emits a frequency that allows detection of the metals.

From a practical standpoint, the $152,000 machine costs about $1,600 a month to operate and has an annual service contract of about $7,000. CSU-Pueblo faculty are concerned about a lack of funding for the Fountain Creek study beyond the $100,000 granted by the Lower Ark district for operating costs and the university's own resources.

"colorado water"
6:44:22 AM     

Uranium mining in Weld County?
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Here's an opinion piece about the proposed uranium mining up in Weld County from the Fort Collins Coloradoan. From the article:

...I did some research on the in-situ leach process for extracting uranium. Simply put, this method pumps water out of an aquifer and adds to that water caustic chemicals that will separate uranium from the earth. The treated water is pumped back into the ground to react with uranium deposits. The resulting water solution, laden with uranium and other heavy metals, is pumped to the surface. Uranium is siphoned off for further processing into what is commonly known as yellow cake, while the remaining hazardous metals soup is pooled in a holding pond. The in-situ mining method is touted as a benign way to remove uranium from the ground while leaving no visible impact on the environment. The facts show otherwise. Spills, leaks and mechanical failures plague all types of uranium mining. Kleberg County, Texas, has been in a legal battle with a uranium mining company to clean the pollutants out of their water after that mining company ceased operations five years ago when uranium prices fell to $7 a pound...

A large portion of Colorado rests on a bed of uranium. Most of this uranium is low grade and, undisturbed, it poses little threat to our health. Until China's and India's demand for uranium increased its market value, it was not cost-efficient to mine Colorado's uranium. Now, as the price of uranium reaches $120 a pound, investors are seeing green (as in dollars) and are intent on pursuing uranium mining opportunities in our area with the principal purpose of selling to international markets.

Eastern Colorado's largest water-yielding aquifer is the Dakota-Cheyenne aquifer. This aquifer spreads beneath the cities of Fort Collins, Wellington, Nunn, Windsor, Greeley, Sterling, Fort Morgan, Longmont and Boulder. The proposed in-situ uranium mining in North Colorado would take place within the boundaries of the Dakota-Cheyenne aquifer. Uranium and water don't mix. "Benign" may be used to describe the in-situ leaching process. It is more likely "rip and skip" will become its lasting legacy.

Nuclear energy is not safe, is not clean, is not cheap and is not renewable. A trail of hazardous materials follows the nuclear energy cycle, from the mining of uranium through to the final disposal of weapon-grade plutonium from the spent fuel of nuclear power plants ("Insurmountable Risks: The Dangers of Using Nuclear Power to Combat Global Climate Change," summary.pdf; "An Environmental Critique of In Situ Leach Mining: The Case Against Uranium Solution Mining,"

"2008 pres"
6:20:07 AM     

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