Enviros and oil industry agree on seismic thumpers
An agreement was reached last
week that will allow
seismic thumper trucks into a section of the national
monument that contains the highest density of
Ancestral Puebloan ruins and artifacts in the country.
The Canyons of the Ancients National Monument,
west of Cortez, will be opened to “ thumper trucks,”
trucks that send shock waves into the ground to locate oil reserves.
Four environmental groups,
including Durango’s San Juan Citizens’ Alliance,
had filed a lawsuit challenging the Bureau of Land Management’s
approval of seismic thumping Aug. 9. The lawsuit was lifted
last Friday after environmentalists
and oil companies agreed to restrictions that would protect
the archaeologically sensitive area.
to do an environmental impact statement and analyze the issues
of common reservoirs and drainage,” said Mark Pearson,
executive director of San
Juan Citizens’ Alliance. “That’ll be a pretty
high hurdle for them to meet.”
The agreement also calls for
moving seismic thumpers away from archaeological sites and having
reptile and archaeological experts accompany the exploration
team to identify sensitive sites.
“We agreed to move about
40 of those source points mostly back onto existing roads,”
Pearson said. “We got them to move out of the last, best
pockets of cryptogamic soils and back onto roads.”
While Pearson admitted that
the project area is fairly damaged by overgrazing, he said there
are still areas where the delicate cryptogamic soil still forms
an unbroken desert crust.
reduce the impact in the most sensitive places,” Pearson
Pearson added that direct
work with oil companies is what made this consensus possible,
and that the companies took a pragmatic approach to addressing
“The oil industry was
a lot easier to work with than the BLM,” he said.
The Hamilton Mesa project
area, where the exploration will take place, is close to the
Utah state line and Hovenweep National Monument.
closes to make room for parking
Durango’s most popular
location to drop off recyclables closed last week to make way
for parking at Chapman Hill. While the closure represents an
immediate hit to local recycling, there is hope that a longterm
solution will be found.
With recreational usage at
Chapman Hill increasing, the city of Durango is spending $913,000
to improve parking and landscaping at the site and add a
5,000 square-foot warming pavilion. The new parking lot forced
the removal of
recycling bins that were Durango’s most widely used.
“For years, the guys
who collect from all the sites in town have told me that they
get more material from the Chapman Hill site than all the others
combined,” said Nancy Andrews, resource conservation director
“If we lose all that
it’s certainly going to be a significant impact.”
Only three dropoff sites will
remain in Durango, one at the Tech Center, one behind north
City Market and one at Fort Lewis College. Andrews explained
rather than frequenting another site, some people just stop
recycling. As evidence, she pointed to a large drop in volume
when the north City Market drop-off was
closed for construction last year. Consequently, she said she
would like to see a replacement site in the same vicinity.
“We are looking at a
couple of different sites,” said Andrews. “But we’re
still a long ways off. There’s a hope to replace it, and
we’d really like to have another on Florida Road to serve
President named interim DACRA director
Joel Jones, retired president
of Fort Lewis College, has been tapped to be the interim director
for the Durango Area Chamber Resort Association. Laura Webb,
DACRA chamber board chair, made the announcement last week.
Jones will fill the void left
by outgoing director Jane Zimmerman for three months as a comprehensive
search for a new and permanent director is undertaken.
The search is expected to be completed in December.
“My mission is to help
stabilize and affect the restructuring of the organization however
the board envisions the chamber’s future,” Jones
Zimmerman and Jones will engage
in a transitional phase this week with Jones assuming full control
Oct. 1. During the coming months, Jones said he will help
support existing chamber programs, activities and services.
“I like synergy,”
he says. “I like being able to bring together entities
where, in the end, everyone benefits. I like the possibility,
and I see that in the Durango
Chamber’s future. It’s exciting.”
After stepping down as FLC
President, Jones served as the interim superintendent of local
school district 9- R as well as interim president of Salisbury
University in Maryland. Zimmerman resigned after a 19-year tenure
with DACRA, citing that she had accomplished her goals, namely
the split of the chamber into wings serving business and tourism.
Four other DACRA employees
also have resigned in the last six months. Zimmerman’s
last day of work will be Friday.
College adopts stringent smoking policy
Fort Lewis College is taking
a swing at cigarette smoking. A new policy requires that all
smoking on campus grounds take place a minimum of 50 feet from
all doorways, windows and ventilation systems.
The change was first proposed
by the Fort Lewis College Wellness Committee in May and eventually
approved by the President’s Cabinet on July 1. According
to Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Wellness Committee
member Pam Smith, it has drawn accolades from staff and students.
“It was clear to the
Wellness Committee, speaking with the majority of the campus
community, that students and faculty would like to enter and
exit buildings without subjecting themselves to cancer-causing
smoke,” Smith said.
The President’s Cabinet
has asked that all members of the campus community comply with
this new policy and help with its enforcement. Fort Lewis College
President Robert Dolphin, Jr. said that the new policy will
be largely self-regulated.
“There are many policies
on campus that both students and faculty are expected to follow,”
he said. “If someone does not comply, we will carefully
take the time to explain the policy and bring to his or her
attention the need for it.”
-compiled by Will Sands