One win, one loss

  Fall brought both good and bad news for the Telluride Ski and Golf Company. The western Colorado company got another green light Oct. 22, to double its skiing terrain, when the Forest Service rejected an appeal by environmentalists.

But in a separate agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency, Telski will pay a $1.1 million fine and up to $2.5 million to create and restore 19 acres of new wetlands near the resort. If approved by a federal judge, the consent decree will end six years of legal haggling over the company's illegal filling of wetlands. The company destroyed the wetlands when it developed the ski area, golf course and new town of Mountain Village in the 1980s.

The matter was thought settled in 1993, but a judge ruled that an earlier consent decree was too lenient. Specifically, he asked for a higher fine and wetlands mitigation near Mountain Village, rather than at a previously selected site outside the county.

"The judge let us know in no uncertain terms how he felt about the previous consent decree," said John Brink, a wetlands enforcement officer for the EPA in Denver. The new settlement, he adds, represents "the court and the public giving us another chance to prove we could do this right."

" Eric Whitney

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