By Jordan Schwartz
The Colorado State Senate is set to convene on May 9th and on their agenda is House Bill 12-1355. This bill proposal will relocate all of the duties and responsibilities of the Colorado Geological Survey and its entities, including the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, to the Colorado School of Mines. For those of us who read the CAIC updates on a regular basis, this leaves fear in our eyes. Having been founded in 1973, CAIC has provided avalanche forecasting to back-country enthusiasts daily. With another government entity being outsourced to a private industry we not only see jobs being lost, but the possibility of funding shortages and poor reporting of danger zones.
One of the few advantages of this transfer of power would be the creation of the Colorado Geological Survey fund which would ensure that all money raised would directly go to CGS, however, there is no current budget set up which would designate where the money appropriated would go. As of now, any additional funds which are in CGS’ coffers are returned to the Colorado General Fund and used for other projects instead.
– The Colorado School of Mines has until 31 December 2012 to officially accept the transfer of CGS and all its assests
– Geological Survey Cash Fund would be created
– The school of mines may hire professionals and assistants to assist with the CGS
– The CGS may not enter into privatized contracts
– CAIC, though not officially disbanded, will be at the mercy of the School
While I cannot say enough of the School of Mines, there is concern with the State transfering power to a private institution.
To read the bill: http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/clics2012a/csl.nsf/fsbillcont/0CA4C3AD2D6DB942872579A000569B4C?Open&file=1355_01.pdf
For CAIC: http://avalanche.state.co.us/index.php
For Colorado School of Mines: http://mines.edu/
Editor’s Note: Colorado arguably has the most dangerous snowpack in North America. It is key that avalanche information, forecasts, warnings, and reviews stay openly available to skiers and snowboarders.