News in Brief
Garco air-quality study extendedA three-year air monitoring study will continue into 2007. The Garfield County commissioners Monday approved $125,490 for the third year of the study in 2007.The study, by Colorado State University, has analyzed air samples from 15 stations around Garfield County to evaluate air quality and to determine if increased oil and gas activity has an impact.In presenting the new contract to the county commissioners Monday, contract administrator Tim Arnett said, “This one jumped a little.” Next year’s county budget estimated the cost at $33,809; it will cost $125,490. Nevertheless, the commissioners did not hesitate to approve the contract at the higher amount.”I don’t have a whole lot of answers why it is so much extra,” said Garfield County environmental health manager Jim Rada.Over the last two years, the study has focused on microscopic particles called PM 10 that are 10 microns or smaller in size that contribute to air pollution. In Garfield County, the majority of PM 10 comes from wildfires, with a small percentage, about 1 percent, coming from motor vehicles, Rada told the commissioners in a report on the study in March.He also said levels of PM 10 were relatively low, with the highest readings in Rifle, Parachute and New Castle. (Glenwood Springs Post Independent)February energy lease sale includes 32,125 acresDENVER (AP) – Many of the parcels on the block in a February sale of federal energy leases in Colorado involve private landowners, according to a list the Bureau of Land Management released Monday.Thirty-three of the 49 parcels covering a total of 32,125 acres are on split estate, which means the surface land is private and the federal government owns the oil and gas underneath. The Colorado office of the Bureau of Land Management will offer the oil and gas leases Feb. 8.Companies that buy or lease the minerals from the federal government or private landowners have the right to extract the minerals despite who owns the surface.In November, the agency approved energy leases on nearly 119,000 acres.Environmental groups, communities and landowners protested some of the leases, which won’t be issued until the protests are considered.Companies nominate federal land and minerals for lease in the BLM’s quarterly auctions.Western State seeks OK for graduate programsGUNNISON (AP) – Western State College wants the Legislature to allow it to offer graduate programs for the first time since the 1980s.State Rep. Kathleen Curry, D-Gunnison, and state Sen.-elect Gail Schwartz, a former member of the University of Colorado Board of Regents, plan to offer a bill in the Legislature next month that would restore graduate programs cut by the Legislature in the 1980s.The lack of such programs is a hardship for students and for teachers who want to add higher-level college credits, said John Sowell, Western State vice president for academic affairs.Sowell said the school would decide what types of programs to add only if and when the bill passes. The bill would allow the school to offer a limited number of graduate programs.Western State began offering graduate programs in 1921 but has not offered any since 1989, when it awarded 158 masters degrees.The Aspen Times, Aspen, Colo.
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