La Plata County

About a million gallons of contaminated mine water spilled into a tributary of the Animas River in San Juan County on Wednesday. 

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that the Environmental Protection Agency made a mistake when it told electric power plants to reduce mercury emissions. The high court says the EPA should first have considered how much it would cost power plants to do that.

The decision comes too late for most power companies, but it could affect future EPA regulations.

Mercury in the air is a health risk. When you burn coal or oil, you create airborne mercury that can end up in fish we eat and cause serious health problems.

The Environmental Protection Agency says it has found no evidence that hydraulic fracturing — better known as fracking — has led to widespread pollution of drinking water. The oil industry and its backers welcome the long-awaited study, while environmental groups criticize it.

The Obama administration announced new clean water rules Wednesday that it says will protect sources of drinking water for 117 million Americans, rules welcomed by environmental groups, but bitterly opposed by congressional Republicans and farm state democrats.

The rules clarify which waterways fall under the Clean Water Act.

President Obama, in a statement released by the White House, said that in recent years:

Coloradoans pride themselves on the quality of their drinking water, most of which originates high up in the Rocky Mountains. On the Eastern Plains though, many communities have water that not only tastes bad, it's out of compliance with federal drinking water standards.

At the J and L Cafe in downtown Sterling you'll find diners sipping glasses of tap water as they enjoy lunch. Just a year ago, that wasn't the case.

"You couldn't hardly drink it," said diner Kathy Orchid, she never used to drink the tap water. "It's much better [now]."


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  • EPA visits X Games to talk climate change

The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency told a small crowd in Aspen Thursday that action on climate change is needed now. Administrator Gina McCarthy timed her visit with the Winter X Games, to reach a younger crowd.

McCarthy’s visit was in conjunction with Protect Our Winters, a climate change advocacy group led by snow sports athletes. Standing next to the ski gondola, McCarthy emphasized how action on climate change is critical to economies like Aspen’s.

Flickr user booleansplit

Monday was the last day for comment on the proposed Clean Power Plan from the EPA.

It's a hot summer day outside Lincoln, Neb., and Jack Chappelle is knee-deep in trash. He's wading in to rotting vegetables, half-eaten burgers and tater tots. Lots of tater tots.

"You can get a lot of tater tots out of schools," Chappelle says. "It doesn't matter if it's elementary, middle school or high school. Tater tots. Bar none."

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.



Government regulators have approved a new generation of genetically engineered corn and soybeans. They're the latest weapon in an arms race between farmers and weeds, and the government's green light is provoking angry opposition from environmentalists.

Hundreds of people are expected to testify in Denver on proposed rules to reduce carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. The Denver hearing is one of several the Environmental Protection Agency is hosting across the country on the plans.

North Fork of the Gunnison
Laura Palmisano.

The North Fork of the Gunnison River flows through southwestern Colorado. It’s a waterway the feeds into the Gunnison River, a tributary of the Colorado River, which supplies drinking water to millions of people in the West.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a joint proposal earlier this year that outlines changes to the Clean Water Act

A top administrator in the EPA’s Office of Water was in the Roaring Fork Valley on Wednesday, touring local rivers and drumming up interest for a proposed Clean Water Act rule. Acting Administrator Nancy Stoner says the so-called “Waters of the U.S.” rulemaking clarifies what types of waterbodies get federal protection. Before she discussed the rule with local residents, she traveled up the Frying Pan river.