Mountain News: 

Banff power consumption up 32 per cent

BANFF, Alberta — Now that the Kyoto Protocol is in effect, Banff has the task of following through on its commitment to reduce the consumption of energy created by burning fossil fuels.

It won’t be easy to cut back these greenhouse gases. A new study shows that energy consumption during the 1990s in Banff rose 32 per cent. The community is committed to reducing energy use by 6 per cent during the current decade.

At 45 per cent, the biggest jump during that previous decade was in the energy used by visitors in transportation, while use of natural gas, primarily to heat homes and businesses, rose 35 per cent.

The Biosphere Institute of the Bow Valley, which prepared the report, proposes several priorities, among them tolerating idling vehicles for shorter periods and also promoting energy efficient products. As well, reports the Rocky Mountain Outlook, there is talk about nudging visitors, as well as locals, onto public transportation by creating interceptor lots on the town’s edge.

It’s not all pain, however. Saving energy can be seen as a way of economic development, points out the town’s environmental manager, Jake Pryor. Most of the money spent on energy leaves the community, so paring energy consumption actually leaves more money in local pockets, he says.

Make it flat

KETCHUM, Idaho — The Ketchum-Sun Valley area needs a new or at least improved airport in order to keep up with the ski town Jones of the West. That has caused airport and other local officials to study sites up to an hour away.

Think outside of the box, said one local man, who proposed to shave off some hills, fill in some valleys and – presto, an airport site closer to the resort strip. So, reports the Idaho Mountain Express, at long last the airport officials agreed to give his idea closer scrutiny.

No dice, they said. All of this cutting and filling would cost $100 million to $150 million, not counting the cost of the airport, and even so it wouldn’t be quite large enough. So it’s back inside the box of looking at flat places farther away, reports the Idaho Mountain Express.

Thompson still making news

ASPEN, Colo. — Local newspapers in Aspen are free, as they are in most larger ski towns, but the Aspen papers that announced the death of Hunter S. Thompson actually seem to be worth something on eBay. A set of four papers, two of The Aspen Times and two of the Aspen Daily News, were running $31 after attracting 10 bids.

Public art in the eye of beholder

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