Mile-High Headlines for Tuesday, November 18
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Shale Rule Rile Oil companies got a step closer to the business of squeezing oil from stone in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming as the federal government issued new rules that left Governor Bill Ritter and Senator Ken Salazar complaining, according to the Denver Business Journal. The rules, which go into effect three days before President-elect Barack Obama takes office, address how shale companies can extract 800 billion barrels of oil–enough to supply the United States for 110 years at current demand. The rules also outline what the feds would get in terms of royalties. Though it is too early to tell how they would impact water supplies, public lands, and air quality, according to the state’s natural resources department, Ritter called the move potentially “reckless,” according to News13 in Colorado Springs. Salazar, meanwhile, is claiming the Bush administration doesn’t know yet where the water and energy needed to extract the oil will come from. Don’t look for companies to go to work on this tomorrow. It could take five to ten years before leases are issued because the federal government has to ensure demand for shale oil is strong and conduct environmental evaluations, according to Reuters. Focus on the Family: Big Layoffs After dumping more than $500,000 into efforts to pass California’s ban on gay marriage, Proposition 8, Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family says it will eliminate 202 jobs, or about 18 percent of its workforce. These are the biggest cuts by the evangelical organization in its 32-year history, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette, which notes that Focus recently outsourced 46 jobs in its distribution department and, in 2007, laid of 30 workers and reassigned another 15. The organization says donations, which make up almost all of Focus’ money, are down. Political battles elsewhere did not affect money for employees because the funds came from a different pot, according to Focus. Wonkette offers a snarky response for Focus’ unemployed. Meanwhile, an op-ed in The Los Angeles Times notes that as same-gender marriage proponents are deciding how to respond to Proposition 8, “it is illuminating to compare Colorado’s  rejection of ‘gay rights’ with California’s repudiation of ‘gay marriage.'” Prop 8 is also bringing up comparisons to 1992’s Amendment 2 over at The Colorado Independent. AWOL Marine Fights Boulder Marine Lance Hering, who is accused of faking his own death to avoid serving a second tour of duty in Iraq, sat yesterday in a Port Angeles, Washington, courtroom following his arrest at the city’s airport, where his father Lloyd, a pilot, was fueling a Cessna to help him escape, according to Peninsula Daily News. The Marines could try Hering for desertion, a crime that is punishable by death during wartime, according to The Denver Post. A friend of the family blamed the media for portraying Hering as a coward. There had been reports that Hering’s life was in danger after comrades in his unit allegedly killed a civilian woman in Iraq, although the Marines have officially denied the story. Hering is also wanted on criminal charges in Boulder County, the Rocky Mountain News reports, spawning questions about who “gets the first crack” at him. “Plenty of mystery” surrounds Hering, as Westword notes. Hering’s story is starting to sound a bit like that of Mark Wilkerson, who decided not to return to duty after witnessing the horrors of war, as 5280’s Patrick Doyle wrote in “The Resister.” Denver to London Governor Bill Ritter is trying to put the “international” back in Denver International Airport. Yesterday, he announced that United Airlines will resume nonstop service between Denver and London, at least on a seasonal basis. The news came during a conference call with the press from Japan, according to the Denver Business Journal. Ritter hopes United’s reinstated flight, which joins British Airways‘ DIA-to-London service, will help convince Japan’s All Nippon Airways to provide a nonstop daily from DIA to Tokyo, a long-term goal for the airport. It was just last month that United said it would drop the London route, an announcement that came around the same time Lufthansa canceled nonstop service from DIA to Munich. Ritter is also scheduled to visit China with Colorado’s business leaders, PolitickerCO notes. In July, Ritter spent a week touring the Norwegian Arctic as part of a delegation exploring climate change. How ‘Bout that Global Warming? Denver might break the record for the hottest day ever in November today as temperatures soar into the low 80s, according to meteorologist Stacey Donaldson at CBS4. Temps should cool to the 60s by Wednesday, and by Thursday more typical mid-November weather could return, meaning 40s and fog. With all this sun, it’s too bad that Xcel Energy decided to cut solar installation subsidies to residential customers by 40 percent, according to The Denver Post. Xcel, which now seeks to pay $6,750, justifies cutting the subsidy because Congress increased the federal solar-energy tax credit. Stick a Fork in Lynch In a prelude to his 2010 gubernatorial campaign, John Lynch has retired from the National Football League. Okay, so the piece about running for governor isn’t necessarily true, although Lynch’s name recently surfaced as a possible Republican candidate after he appeared at a John McCain rally in Denver. The rumor sort of frustrated Lynch, according to The Associated Press. Yet he also seems to be keeping the door open if he can’t find a job in football: “I try not to rule things out, but I really have a passion for this game and want to do something that’s around that.” Lynch, a 37-year-old safety, played 15 seasons with the Denver Broncos and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He went to nine Pro Bowls, won a Super Bowl with Tampa, and left the Broncos earlier this year, signing with New England during training camp. He was later cut. Chauncey Doing Nice In New Digs Chauncey Billups has pulled an Allen Iverson. Billups, who was recently acquired as part of a trade deal that saw Iverson go to Detroit, was named the Western Conference’s Player of the Week yesterday. That’s according to the Rocky Mountain News, which notes that the last Nugget to receive the honor was Iverson, back in April. Billups averaged 21.5 points, 5.8 assists, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.25 steals in four games last week–three of them wins. LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers received the honor in the Eastern Conference. Audiodose: Renewable energy experts gathered at the University of Colorado in Boulder yesterday and worried that the incoming Barack Obama administration may delay some initiatives meant to spur the development of cleaner energy, according to KUNC radio. Cheapest Gallon of Gas ‘Round Here: $1.73, Western Convenience, 10515 S. Parker Road (via www.gasbuddy.com). Email relevant articles to firstname.lastname@example.org.