Associated Press, Author at Colorado Politics - Page 2 of 24
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Associated PressAssociated PressDecember 30, 20172min2410

ASPEN, Colo.— Colorado Gov. John Hicklenooper says one of his priorities during his last year in office will be to keep U.S. officials from meddling in regulations his state has enacted.

Colorado has worked with industry and nonprofit groups to enact model regulations, especially for the oil and gas industry, Hickenlooper told the Aspen Times.

Colorado also can be a national model for things such as affordable housing, he said Thursday.

But Hickenlooper worries President Donald Trump’s administration will try to undo Colorado’s regulations by saying they’re burdensome.

“We’ve worked hard to go through all the regulations to get rid of all the deadwood, the red tape, the bureaucracy and have lean, efficient regulation that actually helps businesses to succeed,” Hickenlooper said. “I don’t want the federal government to come in and tell us what we created between business and the nonprofit communities isn’t good anymore because it doesn’t fit their political paradigm.”

Colorado and other states no longer can wait on the federal government for help to solve their problems, especially as the country grows economically and in population, he said.

“I’m not sure the federal government is going to be much of a partner as we look at solving all the problems of our growth,” he said. “We’re going to have to solve them ourselves.”

Hickenlooper was mayor of Denver before being elected governor in 2010. He is term-limited and has about a year left in office.


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Associated PressAssociated PressDecember 30, 20173min1950

ASPEN, Colo. (AP) — Ski areas in Colorado’s White River National Forest paid more than $20 million in fees to the U.S. Forest Service last fiscal year, but none of that money is directly reinvested in maintaining the nation’s most-visited recreation forest.

The reason: wildfire.

The Aspen Times reports that the fees, paid by 11 ski areas for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, go to a Forest Service that is spending more and more to fight catastrophic wildfires. Forest Service officials anticipate that two-thirds of the agency’s entire budget will go to firefighting by 2025.

That leaves less and less for trails, campgrounds and other services in the White River, with 2.3 million acres (900,000 hectares), eight wilderness areas and 10 mountain peaks that surpass 14,000 feet (4,200 meters). The forest receives more than 10 million visitors a year.

“We’re hurting everywhere. More and more is going to fire,” forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams said.

White River’s annual budget is about $18 million, compared to more than $30 million in 2009.

None of that $18 million comes from ski areas. About $16 million is appropriated by Congress, and $2 million comes from visitor fees, such as season passes for the Maroon Bells Scenic Area, and fees paid by outfitters and guides conducting commercial trips such as backpacking, rafting and horseback riding.

Ski area fees are determined by skier visits, the amount of public land occupied by a ski area, area revenues and other factors. The $20 million is a record for White River, up slightly from the previous fiscal year.

Vail Resorts paid nearly $16 million for four ski areas; Aspen Skiing Co. paid more than $2.4 million for another four. Skico paid $1.6 million for Snowmass and nearly $106,000 for Aspen Mountain, much of which sits on private land.

Efforts to allow national forests to retain ski area fees have lagged. Bipartisan legislation known as the proposed Recreation Not Red-Tape Act would allow national forests to keep some ski area fees, but it’s not made much progress in Congress.

Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, whose 3rd Congressional District includes Aspen, supports the bill, as does the Colorado Ski Country USA trade association.


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Associated PressAssociated PressDecember 22, 201711min1300

CHEYENNE – Cheyenne and Laramie County were among the biggest winners in Wyoming from tourism activity associated with the Great American Eclipse in August. And while the overall number of out-of-state visitors fell short of higher-end estimates, the Wyoming Office of Tourism is touting the eclipse’s path of totality through the state as the largest single tourism event in the state’s history.