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Mountain News: Many mountain towns wet like a river current



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The advertisement calls for "certainty and rules of the road" that will enable U.S. businesses to plan, build, and lead.

At the center of debate now underway is how aggressively the United States should create a de facto tax on carbon. The Waxman-Markey bill now being debated in Congress proposes a cap-and-trade regime. The 900-page bill proposes to sell polluting rights to operators of coal-fired power plants, for example, and use the money to innovate technologies and infrastructure that will cause less atmospheric pollution.

Auden Schendler, executive director of community and environmental responsibility for Aspen Skiing Co., says those wanting aggressive action have been split on what will be the smartest strategy: accept a watered-down plan with hopes of later improving it, or hold out for strong action with the potential of getting nothing.

Meanwhile, in Park City, nine of the 11 governors of Western states were scheduled to meet this week on Sunday through Tuesday to talk about development of renewable energy resources, climate change and other pressing issues. On the agenda to talk with the governors were Stephen Chu, the secretary of energy, and Ken Salazar, the secretary of interior.

Last year the governors met in Jackson Hole, and the year before that in Breckenridge.

Banff looks at housing to become more dense

BANFF, B.C. - Unable to expand because it is an inholding within Banff National Park, the community of Banff has been looking to increase density as a way of accommodating its 8,000 residents, with more babies being born all the time. The community's birthrate has been 25 percent higher than the national average.

The town staff has offered many ideas, such as reduced setbacks from lot lines, which would in turn accommodate larger buildings and, in some cases, secondary apartments or even small cabins of 300 to 900 square feet. One proposal calls for up to 40 percent of a lot's space being occupied by buildings, compared to the current cap of 30 percent. As well, building height in some areas would be increased, such as from two stories to two and a half-stories.

But those taking up more lot space would also need to take certain mitigating measures, such as creating porous parking surfaces, which allows runoff to better percolate through the soil, rather than increase runoff into the Bow River.

Taking stock of these proposals, the Rocky Mountain Outlook likes what it hears. With so much public elbow room available in the surrounding national park, individuals shouldn't need that much personal space.