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The U.S. Senate yesterday rejected a critical federal tax credit for Vestas and other wind power manufacturers by a 49 to 49 vote. The vote split on party lines with democrats supporting the tax credit and republicans against it. The wind power credit was just one of 19 business tax credit extension in an amendment that covered businesses from wind power to bio-fuels and credits for energy efficient home construction. The measure needed 60 votes under senate rules to be attached to a far-reaching transportation bill that the senate has been working on for several weeks. Colorado senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall, both democrats, have lobbied their colleagues that 1,600 jobs at Vestas’ four Colorado plants are in jeopardy if the wind power tax credit isn’t extended very soon. Following yesterday’s vote, a Vestas spokesman said that the company would decide to “add, adjust or eliminate jobs” in the U.S. and Canada later this year based on the status of the tax credit and the markets served by U.S. factories.
A woman was hit by a truck yesterday afternoon after running into traffic on northbound Interstate 25 between the Ilex interchange and First Street in Pueblo. The 52-year-old woman, who has not been identified, is being treated at Parkview Medical Center. She is reportedly seriously hurt and in extremely critical condition. The accident occurred at 12:20pm yesterday when the woman, who was a passenger in a northbound car, became ill. The male driver of the vehicle pulled over in the median and the woman got out and ran into northbound traffic. She was hit by a truck that was pulling a trailer loaded with cinder blocks. In attempting to miss her, the truck collided with another vehicle that was then spun into the median divider wall. No one else was injured. Just why the woman ran into traffic is still being investigated. Traffic in the northbound lanes was closed for a time while police investigated the incident.
The Trinidad City Council last night postponed any action on City Manager Ed Dil De Rubio until its next meeting. Following a lengthy work session yesterday, Mayor John Rino tried to convene a special meeting of council to consider legal matters in executive session and to discuss Gil De Rubio’s request for a public hearing on his continued employment with the city. However, Councilwoman Bernadette Baca-Gonzales objected to the special meeting being held and Rino ended the meeting. Rino said afterward that the first time council can consider setting a hearing for Gil De Rubio will be next Tuesday. Gil De Rubio was placed on paid leave on March 6th after a 4-3 council vote. The issue has split the council and the community. A movement to recall councilman Al Bonato, who voted to place Gil De Rubio on leave, is now underway.
While Rio Grande Compact requirements are a moving target throughout the year, Division 3 Water Engineer Craig Cotten told the Rio Grande Basin Roundtable yesterday that the amount of water moved past the state line in winter and early spring can limit curtailments on local irrigation ditches. Cotten said, “Our flows are going up so we’re getting a lot more through”. The projected flow on the Rio Grande is expected to be 590,000 acre-feet this year, down from the average of 650,000 acre-feet. Under those projections, Colorado will have to send 158,000 acre-feet downstream for the entire year. Irrigation ditches along the Rio Grande would face a 15% curtailment on all flows as of right now. The state’s obligations under the compact, which governs the use of the Rio Grande between Colorado, New Mexico and Texas, vary according to stream flow. The Conejos River, which shares in the state’s compact requirements, is expected to produce 265,000 acre-feet this year. That means the state must send 85,000 acre-feet downstream. Conejos River irrigation ditches currently face a 20% curtailment.
The Trinidaddio Blues Fest has been canceled, its founder Jerry Campbell said yesterday due to a bad economy and problems at Trinidad’s city hall. Campbell has been staging the musical festival for 13 years with a volunteer board of directors. Campbell said that besides the economy, political infighting helped bag the festival. Campbell said that the festival has to go through the city council for its permitting and that has not been cordial. He said it wasn’t worth the risk. Campbell said the blues fest meant much-needed cash for the Trinidad economy. He said the hotels were filled, restaurants were filled and you couldn’t’ get a room for 30 miles around.