Now you know: May 25, 2023

This week’s news in Boulder County and beyond


New law aims to reduce composting confusion 

Gov. Polis signed a bill (SB23-253) on May 17 that sets standards on products represented as compostable to address contamination concerns. 

The bill, effective in 2024, sets requirements for products labeled compostable to receive a “certified compostable” verification and adhere to labeling standards. If products are not certified compostable, they cannot be marketed like compostable products that could be “reasonably anticipated to mislead consumers into believing that the product is compostable.” 

Dan Matsch, compost director at Eco-Cycle and co-author of the bill, said in a press release that non-compostable materials are difficult to sort out and reduce the value of finished compost.

“This bill sets a standard for compostable labeling that will increase trust in compostable products and increase demand for composting services in Colorado,” he said.

Food pantry expands hours to meet demand 

Harvest of Hope Pantry (4830 Pearl St.) is providing more opportunities to access free food. 

Starting June 5, the pantry will be open to all shoppers Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in addition to its hours on Tuesday and Thursday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. 

It will also be expanding its mobile pantry to High Mar and Lee Hill neighborhoods in Boulder.

“[More hours] gives people more options to get here, especially for those clients who don’t have a place of residence,” says Liam McClure, client programs manager. 

The increased hours are in response to growing need in the community as pandemic-era social support programs dry up. This year, Harvest of Hope has distributed more than 15,000 pounds more food than the same time last year.

Harvest of Hope isn’t alone — other food banks and pantries across the county are trying to keep up with demand (News, “‘A delicate time,’” May 11, 2023). 

A deal to manage the Colorado River

Representatives from Arizona, California and Nevada have reached an agreement to conserve at least an additional 3 million acre-feet of the Colorado River Lower Basin by the end of 2026.

The deal, announced Monday, May 22, was agreed upon by all seven of the Colorado River Basin states. More than 75% of the conservation savings will be compensated through funding from the Inflation Reduction Act (amounting to $1.2 billion, according to The New York Times)

The deal could keep the federal government from establishing mandated cuts, which was possible after the Colorado River Basin states missed a deadline earlier this year to cut water usage (News, “Colorado River ‘cuts,’” Feb. 9, 2023).

Although water levels in the country’s largest reservoirs, Lake Powell and Lake Meade, are projected to rise this year due to an unusually large snowpack in the Upper Colorado River Basin, experts remain cautious that a long-term solution is still needed. 

Mark Squillace, natural resources law professor at CU Boulder, isn’t excited about the agreement, saying it’s too much money to be spent on a short-term solution.

“We have to figure out a way to cut back on consumption, not just for one year or a three year period, but permanently,” he says.

The Department of the Interior is analyzing the environmental impacts of the proposal, and will release an updated draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for public comment.