Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, a utility that serves rural Colorado, has agreed to conduct an unusual study before building a coal plant after being challenged by Environment Colorado, an advocacy organization. The concern isn’t air quality but the amount of water the new plant would require, writes The Wall Street Journal, noting that limited water supplies are starting to shape local energy decisions throughout the West.

Water was also a concern during an environment forum, according to the Aspen Daily News, where a writer and photographer for National Geographic shared photos of oil sands in Canada, giving a sad glimpse into “what the potential toll of large-scale oil shale production could look like in western Colorado.” 

The Watch in Telluride, meanwhile, reports that state budget problems have frozen eight of 120 water commissioner positions statewide, leading to fears that water fights will be brewing this spring.