Headlines December 16, 2021
High Winds Wreak Havoc In Colorado, Other States
Wind gusts between 80 and 100 miles per hour ripped through Colorado’s Front Range yesterday. By late afternoon, some sixty thousand people were without electricity. Winter Storm Bankston started in California, dumping snow in the Sierras and Utah. Much-needed precipitation arrived in Colorado, but the wind wreaked havoc.
Airlines canceled and delayed more than a hundred flights at Denver International Airport. Only two of six runways were in operation, The Denver Post reported. The wind shut down dozens of COVID testing and vaccine sites across the state.
Images of downed trees, dust-filled skies, and overturned trucks filled social media posts. The storm moved on to several midwestern states and is expected to continue eastward today.
Colorado Parents Rally Around Child Tax Credit Program
The Senate has shelved the Build Back Better Act until after the holiday recess, freezing monthly disbursements to families made through the federal Child Tax Credit program. Partly responsible for the standoff in Congress is Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a conservative Democrat who says he opposes the overall costs of the Build Back Better Plan. Biden expanded the child tax credit earlier this year when he signed the American Rescue Plan into law. While payments are being sent out for December, there’s no guarantee that they will continue in the new year.
Weld County Reverses COVID-19 Social Media Blackout
Weld County commissioners announced yesterday that they would continue to post information about COVID-19 on social media. The statement reversed a decision made in November to stop approving Facebook posts about vaccinations. This, after three residents complained that the information was dangerous–citing a debunked claim that it caused heart attacks in children.
County spokesperson Jennifer Finch said in the statement that the entire board had not supported the decision to hold back information. She added that discussions internally led to a consensus that sharing information with the public would allow citizens to make their own decisions about COVID-19 vaccinations.
Conservation Groups Sway Commission To Revisit Protections For Urban Waterways
Colorado’s Water Quality Control Commission agreed this week to revisit demands to increase protections for the South Platte River and Clear Creek. The commission’s reversal came in response to a petition by a coalition of environmental activists. They approached Colorado Governor Jared Polis and accused the commission of putting industry profits first, rather than the health and safety of city residents historically affected by pollution.
According to The Colorado Sun, a 2020 decision by the commission had ruled that greater protection of the waterways should address, not urban streams, but “pristine mountain waters.” This comment outraged local government and environmental watchdog groups such as the Colorado Green Latinos.
Three States To Reduce Colorado River Usage
Conservationists from Arizona, Nevada and California signed off yesterday on voluntary usage reductions of water from the Colorado River. They made the decision to help prevent mandatory cuts in the near future. Severe drought, worsened by climate change, has decreased the natural water supply.
Current guidelines for managing the river expire in 2026. The Colorado River Water Users Association used their annual meeting in Las Vegas to get ahead of that deadline. The three lower basin states pledged to invest about one-hundred-thousand dollars in the two-year project. Federal funds will provide an extra 100 million. Funding would go toward water savings programs. Indian tribal leaders, who hold rights to about 20 percent of the water, also signed related agreements.
The L.A. Times reports that another environmental group called out upper basin states, including Colorado, for excess water usage.