KVNF Regional Newscast: April 22, 2022
Poultry growers in Montrose and Delta counties are now under state quarantine after the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the State Veterinarian Office confirmed what they are calling a “mortality event” at a commercial operation not named publicly. The Delta County Independent reports a facility in Montrose County euthanized 60,000 birds to prevent the spread of the highly contagious H5N1 avian flu. The quarantine affects poultry and poultry-products produced in Montrose and Delta counties including backyard operations. No chickens or eggs can move off premises without written consent. Products available in grocery stores are not affected, as avian flu is not a food safety risk. Poultry and eggs are still safe to eat when handled and cooked correctly.
The Ute Mountain Ute tribe in Southern Colorado and Eastern Utah has raised the concern that the nearby White Mesa Mill, the only one of its kind operating in the country, has contaminated the area’s water, soil, plants and animals. The White Mesa Mill produces refined uranium, vanadium and rare earth compounds used for nuclear fuels, the creation of steel, batteries and electric cars. Denver Post reports tailings, toxic compounds left over from the process, are poured into massive ponds on site. Utah regulators have cited the mill at least 40 times since 1999 for violations ranging from administrative issues and failures in collecting and reporting data, to discharging pollutants into waterways. For all those violations the mill has paid less than 200,000 dollars in penalties. Uranium levels at one monitoring well spiked over 600 percent higher than acceptable federal limits for drinking water, data shows. But State regulators and officials with Energy Fuels, the company that owns and operates the mill, believe high levels of toxic compounds come from “legacy sources” predating the mill.
The Colorado River is America’s most endangered according to a new national report. KUNC’s Alex Hager has more on the analysis from American Rivers.
(More drought control measures are on the way to help prop up Lake Powell. A new plan from the federal government and the four states in the upper Colorado River basin would send 500,000 acre-feet of water downstream from Flaming Gorge Reservoir. Utah’s Colorado River Commissioner Gene Shawcroft signed on to the plan.
The releases are designed to keep Lake Powell from dipping too low to generate hydropower. They are a sign of drastic measures needed to fight back more than two decades of drought with no end in sight.
Colorado lawmakers are unveiling another effort to help survivors of natural disasters like wildfires rebuild their homes. As Scott Franz reports for Capitol Coverage it would create a thirty five million dollar grant program and a new government office.
As Earth Day is celebrated across the globe, we continue inching toward a tipping point where reversing the climb of greenhouse gasses in the environment may no longer be possible. Some corporations and organizations respond by using carbon offsets. But a group of locals is digging their hands in the dirt to not only act locally and think globally, but also engage in a practical response. Kate Redmond reports.