SJCA's work includes fighting proposals to drill natural gas wells on state land on the boundary of Chaco Culture National Historical Park, battling an attempt by San Juan County to pave the main access road to Chaco Culture NHP without complying with the National Environmental Policy Act (even though the county received federal funds), and opposing numerous oil and gas leases by the BLM/Farmington Field Office (BLM/FFO) on lands in close proximity to Chaco Culture NHP and outliers.
Senator Michael Bennet introduced the Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection Act in the Senate in July 2012, a major step towards permanent protection for the watershed just north of Durango.
This summer marked the release of the Lower Dolores River Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation Plan. The plan lays out opportunities to stabilize and improve three native fish populations that have plummeted in the Lower Dolores River since McPhee Dam went into full operation in the late 1990s.
Due primarily to the Regional Haze Program under the Clean Air Act and the rising cost of coal-generated electricity, the future of two northwest New Mexico coal plants is very much in question. The utility owners of these plants face significant decisions concerning their willingness to invest in pollution controls.
The public comment period for a new Wolf Creek Draft Environmental Impact Statement closed October 16, 2012. The latest proposal is for a land swap of 178 acres of privately owned and undevelopable wetlands for 204 acres of public forest. The swap would enable the construction of a resort at 10,000 feet in elevation, to house up to 10,000 people.
Tipton Undermines Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection Act
Representative Tipton stunned southwest Colorado last week when he introduced an amended version of the bill for mark-up to the House Committee on Natural Resources. After six years of community dialogue and collaboration on this bill, local officials, businesses and individuals are outraged that such significant alterations were conducted behind closed doors. Modifications include allowing roads and transmission line infrastructure built within designated wilderness areas and opening the entire Special Management Area to oil, gas, and mining activities. Read our Press Release, editorial from the Durango Herald, or the Denver Post coverage.
HD Mountains are Under Siege...Again
San Juan National Forest is trying to open 7 new drilling sites in the HD Mountains without doing an environmental assessment as promised. Rather than evaluate the environmental impact of this drilling - or let the public have input - the agency is trying to approve the drilling using an internal administrative action called Categorical Exclusion. We are submitting comments to insist on an environmental assessment. Join us! Comments DUE FRIDAY, JULY 25th. Learn more. Details from the Forest Service
SJCA Submits Comments on Deeply Flawed Draft EIS of Four Corners Power Plant
San Juan Citizens Alliance joined Sierra Club, Diné Citizens Against Ruining Our Environment, Center for Biological Diversity and Western Environmental Law Center in submitting comprehensive comments cataloguing alarming deficiencies in the Draft EIS. Read the Press Release
Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection Act Introduced With Bipartisan Support
Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Rep. Scott Tipton (R, CO-3) introduced legislation that would protect one of Colorado’s most revered landscapes – the Hermosa Creek watershed in the San Juan National Forest. The Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection Act would protect more than 100,000 acres of incredible wildlife habitat and ensure the future of the area’s wildly popular recreational opportunities. Read More www.hermosacreek.org
Click here to go to Sen. Bennet's website for the full text of the bill and to view a map of the proposed protections.
Long Overdue Analysis of Four Corners Power Plant Complex Begins
The federal Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation Enforcement has initiated the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to analyze the coal-fired Four Corners Power Plant, the adjacent Navajo Mine, and transmission corridors. Read More
Group Works to Increase Resilience of Mixed Conifer
With fires raging in Colorado this summer, awareness has grown dramatically about the connection between forest health and our daily life and well being. Read More
Volunteers Tackle Fen Restoration at Ophir Pass
In summer 2012, the Alliance joined with diverse non-profit, business and agency partners to carry out an intensive hands-on restoration of a 1.6 acre fen at Ophir Pass. A fen is a type of wetland fed primarily by groundwater, rich in nutrients and plants that accumulate to form a deep layer of peat. Read More
BLM Proposes Leasing Lands for Oil and Gas Development
The Bureau of Land Management is proposing leasing of lands in western La Plata County and eastern Montezuma County, primarily south of Highway 160 in the area from Hesperus to Mancos Hill. The proposed lease areas also include parcels adjacent to Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. SJCA has been actively involved in evaluating the leases, providing detailed comments to the BLM, and providing information to our members and interested citizens. Read More
LPEA Board Member Heather Erb and her colleagues will be presenting, "The Growing Community Solar Garden Program." Learn about the program's background, benefits to participating, current updates, and a peak into the future. More details here.
In the News - Articles
A Big Bet on Coal, Durango Herald, June 18, 2014
Sunset on the Weminuche, The Durango Telegraph, June 12, 2014
Plans for Lower Dolores River Draw Criticism, Durango Herald, January 15, 2014
The River Runs Through It - The Durango Telegraph, December 5, 2013
Coming up with a Plan, The Durango Telegraph, October 3, 2013
BLM Narrows Proposed Chaco Drilling Sites to Four - Durango Herald, September 5, 2013
By Rose Chilcoat
Letter to the Editor, Durango Herald, 9/29/13
Recently, I attended the membership meeting of San Juan Citizens Alliance – one of the true organizational treasures of our region. I was reminded of, and impressed with, the important work the alliance alone does organizing people to protect our water and air, our lands and the character of our rural communities in the San Juan Basin.
Most people living here benefit from the alliance’s efforts, but only a few of us support it financially. In a region with a population approaching a quarter of million people, there are only about 500 folks who are members of the alliance, investing in conserving the places we love.
The San Juan Basin possesses some of the richest oil and gas reserves in North America. While their development benefits both the national and local economies, all of the negative effects are borne by the people and land of the San Juans. Our goal is to protect people’s health and land.
SJCA works to permanently protect our last free-flowing streams, enhance our rivers’ water quality and promote democracy in water policy.
Durango - Main Office
P.O. Box 2461, 1022 ½ Main Ave.
Durango, CO 81302
Phone: (970) 259-3583
Fax: (970) 259-8303
P.O. Box 1513
Cortez, CO 81321
Phone: (970) 565-7191
108 North Behrend, Suite I
Farmington, NM 87401
Phone: (505) 325-6724