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Taxes hike needed to thin trees
GRAND LAKE, Colo. The recreation district in Grand Lake is an anomaly, a government that has never raised its property tax during its 45 years of existence. But directors hope voters change that distinction this fall by approving a higher tax that will, in part, be used for removal of trees infested with bark beetles.
The goal, explains the Sky-Hi News, is to protect property adjacent to the golf course from the potential of both beetles and wildfires.
Lawnmower expensive fire hazard
KETCHUM, Idaho In July 2001 a fire on the edge of Ketchum spread into the nearby national forest, burning 300 acres altogether.
From the national forest it might have burned into the densely populated Warm Springs neighbourhoods around the Sun Valley ski area had not the federal government pressed 100 firefighters and a fleet of helicopters and planes into action. The federal government tabulated the cost at $310,600.
So, who pays? Usually, the federal government, but the Idaho Mountain Express reports that in this case the Forest Service believes it was evident a lawnmower owned by a Ketchum-based landscaping company became high-centred, causing sagebrush and grass to catch fire.
An insurance company representing the landscaping business is not admitting liability, but nonetheless is paying a negotiated settlement of $225,000. "Its difficult to actually have that evidence that proves, without a doubt, who the responsible party was," said Ed Waldapfel, a Forest Service spokesman. "In this case, it was pretty clear cut. A $225,000 settlement is better than no settlement at all."
Cyanide mining OK
OURAY, Colo. Colorado has only one active gold mine, with no active proposals for others. But the potential for gold mines using liquid cyanide to parse out the gold from vast quantities of low-grade ore has activists hoping to outlaw the process.
Their chief argument is that the cyanide-leading process causes great environmental destruction. For evidence they cite the Summitville Mine, located in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, where cyanide-leach mining has cost nearly $200 million in cleanup, with all but $25 million borne by taxpayers. As well, the pollution poisoned 18 miles of the Alamosa River.
Since then, Colorado has stiffened its regulations governing mining, but the question remains whether cyanide heap leach processing remains too dangerous. Four counties, including two of them with ski areas, Gunnison and Summit, as well as Gilpin and Costilla, have adopted laws that ban such mines.
Recently, several residents in Ouray County, a one-time hotbed of gold mining also located in the San Juan Mountains, tried for a similar ban there. They argue that state authority remains too weak and ineffective to deal with cyanide processing.
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