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Southwest Life

Abandoned mines, wells present vexing problems

Our region hosts an abundance of abandoned mine sites and orphaned oil and gas wells. They contaminate our water and air with acid mine drainage and leaking methane. They are the legacy of ...

Local electric supplies set for big change

La Plata Electric Association’s board of directors voted in February to dramatically revamp our local source of electricity. In a unanimous decision, the board agreed to a partial buyout of ...

Poor environmental review derails oil and gas leases

Last week, a federal court ruled that the Bureau of Land Management failed to follow the law in selling oil and gas leases across Southwest Colorado in two recent auctions. The ruling applie...

Region’s future electricity supply in play

Electricity customers across Southwest Colorado have the opportunity this month to provide feedback about the future of our electricity supply. The Colorado Public Utility Commission is rev...

Conservation gains across Four Corners mark the new year

After a whirlwind year, it’s time to take stock of some conservation gains over the past 12 months. We often ride a teeter-totter of conservation policy, down one year, up the next, but ove...

Land near Chaco Canyon receives protections

This week the Biden administration took action to safeguard lands surrounding Chaco Canyon from impacts associated with encroaching oil and gas extraction. The Department of Interior announ...

Opportunities for Dolores River conservation

One of the most remarkable features of Southwest Colorado is the spectacular canyon carved by the Dolores River. On those occasions when an abundance of snowpack blesses our region, adventu...

Our evolving environmental baseline

The phrase “new normal” is tossed around frequently to describe our changing environment and climate. It highlights what we each consider our baseline understanding of the world around us, ...

Opportunities abound for engagement on climate change

A friend recently lamented the apparent disappearance of Colorado’s trademark cobalt blue skies, those piercingly clear summer days in the mountains when you can see almost forever. Instead,...

National forest land exchange poses troubling trade-offs

A festering land exchange controversy near Pagosa Springs is emblematic of larger questions about public lands and private demands. It is the latest in a series of exchanges whereby wealthy ...

Methane pollution rules make a difference

Congress is poised this week to take final action to restore rules to rein in methane emissions, a powerful contributor to global climate change. The timing is particularly serendipitous as...

Electric co-ops boost local energy supplies

An inspiring story of rapid energy transition is playing out in a neighboring rural electric cooperative in northern New Mexico. Just recently, Kit Carson Electric Cooperative announced it i...