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Boreal toads doing well

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo.—Research is underway in Jackson Hole to determine why boreal toads, also called the Western toad, is doing so well along the flanks of the Teton Range, while their populations have been going down the toilet for decades in Colorado?

For several decades scientists have studied the severe die off of the toads in Colorado and New Mexico. The specific cause is a fungus called chytrid that impairs the functionality of the toad’s skin, which the toad uses to regulate moisture and to breathe.

Amphibian researcher Peter Murphy of Idaho State University tells the Jackson Hole News & Guide that many of the boreal toads in the Tetons carry the same pathogen, but they didn’t seem to be affected by it. His goal is to figure out why.

The research from the Tetons is being compared against similar research involving toads near Steamboat Springs.

 

Air pollution laws flawed

DURANGO, Colo. – There’s more legal sparring in the four corners region, where the once prized air clarity has given way to smudged skies.

Much of the problems come from old power plants, including the Four Corners Power Plant and San Juan Generating Station, located on the Navajo Nation. The fear is that the proposed Desert Rock coal-fired power plant will worsen the soup.

The Durango Telegraph reports that nearby Mesa Verde National Park was named among the top 10 most threatened parks by the National Parks Conservation Association.

That group, along with Earthjustice and Environmental Defense Fund, is challenging the federal government, arguing that the Bush Administration’s proposed rule changes would weaken pollution rules and would allow Desert Rock to emit dirtier air.

 

Will drillers decamp from Colorado?

RIFLE, Colo. – Colorado will soon be convulsed in a debate about whether to impose higher taxes on the state’s oil and gas producers and more tightly prescribe drilling operations, to limit impacts to water and wildlife.

The industry is assembling a war chest for the November election, at which these issues will be decided. Recently, at a confab in Grand Junction attended by 2,000 people, it made clear what its talking points will be.

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