Friday, August 26, 2011

The Rockies Today, Aug. 26

Posted By on Fri, Aug 26, 2011 at 10:35 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Headwaters News.

Federal appeals court declines to put Idaho, Montana wolf hunts on hold
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied the request of environmental groups to suspend planned wolf hunts in Idaho and Montana while a lawsuit over the removal of endangered species protection of wolves by Congress makes its way through the courts.
Idaho Statesman (AP); Aug. 26

At meeting on wolf plan, Wyoming legislator expresses concerns
At a meeting on the proposed wolf plan hosted by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department Wednesday in Jackson, state Rep. Keith Gingery said he was concerned about one aspect of the plan, which classifies wolves as predators in much of the state, including southern Teton County for much of the year, and under state law, stockmen can kill predators on others' property, an aspect of the plan that Gingery said could impinge on private property rights.
Jackson Hole Daily; Aug. 26

TransCanada poised to begin Keystone XL pipeline work
In anticipation of what has been said will be a favorable environmental assessment of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline project from the U.S. State Department, TransCanada has begun lining up contractors, negotiating rights-of-way and buying components for the pipeline that will carry Alberta crude from the province's oilsands operations to U.S. refineries.
Toronto Globe and Mail; Aug. 26

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The "other" Koch brother

Posted By on Fri, Aug 26, 2011 at 9:30 AM

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A lot has been written recently about billionaire conservatives David and Charles Koch, and especially their "Running on Empty Tour." Jessica Mayrer wrote about the tour's Missoula stop in this week's paper, and Montana bloggers have been hitting the Koch pinata on a regular basis.

But what do you know about Bill Koch?

The Broward/Palm Beach New Times alt weekly (and a few other New Times papers) ran a cover story this week about Bill that reveals how the "black sheep of the family" operates. He's definitely conservative, a little strange (he has a $2 million photo of Billy the Kid), and not a friend to environmentalists, but he's also much different than his brothers.

Now that Charles and David are alternately reviled and admired for their Tea Party ties, "Wild Bill" Koch has been cast in a peculiar new role: the good brother. He donates tens of thousands of dollars to mainstream Republican candidates such as John McCain and Mitt Romney but doesn't publicize his opposition to President Barack Obama. Rather than funding Tea Party groups, he gives money to impoverished kids in Palm Beach County and to hospitals and schools in Colorado, where he has another home. In September, he will open a private high school, Oxbridge Academy, in West Palm Beach. "Bill Koch isn't Charles Koch, and he isn't David Koch," says his spokesman, Brad Goldstein. "He's not his brother's keeper."

The article, titled "Out of the Shadows," is worth a full read.

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Podcast: Montana's Energy Future

Posted By on Thu, Aug 25, 2011 at 11:00 AM

"We have so dang much coal, that it is almost a renewable resource ...," says Gov. Brian Schweitzer in this three-part podcast from Ceres. He admits he'll be criticized for saying that, but "do a little math for god's sake," and you'll understand, he says.

Ceres, a Boston-based nonprofit that "leads a national coalition of investors, environmental organizations and other public interest groups working with companies to address sustainability challenges," interviews Schweitzer, former US Forest Service Supervisor and environmental activist Gloria Flora and Western Representative for the American Wind Energy Association Tom Darin, about the future of low carbon and high carbon energy developments in Montana.

The first segment featuring Schweitzer is up now. It's about 15 minutes long.

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The Rockies Today, Aug. 25

Posted By on Thu, Aug 25, 2011 at 10:20 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Headwaters News.

Sources: State Department to find Keystone XL impact 'limited'
Sources briefed on the U.S. State Department's review of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which will carry crude from Alberta's oilsands operations south to refineries in the United States, could be released as early as Friday, and said that the review found the pipeline's impact would be "limited," clearing a major hurdle in the process.
Washington Post; Aug. 25

Alberta auction of non-oilsands drilling rights breaks record
Alberta Energy reported Wednesday that the latest sale of non-oilsands drilling rights raised $463 million, putting the total for the year at $2.68 billion, a new record.
Edmonton Journal; Aug. 25

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Missoula lost driveway issue, animated

Posted By on Thu, Aug 25, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Few things are better time-wasters than awkwardly animated videos of real-life Missoula events. First there was the Taiwanese animation of a local area bear attack. As some noted, it depicts the largest black bear ever.

Now, someone named "HipDeepinBullshit", who doesn't appear to be a big fan of the city, has uploaded an XtraNormal cartoon about the city eliminating neighborhood driveways. Keila Szpaller covered the issue last week, and Public Works said it would correct its mistake. But "HipDeep" says the video below will stay up until his/her driveway is replaced.

(Not familiar with XtraNormal? Anyone can make videos, like this popular one about journalism, in minutes.)

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Headwaters News: The Rockies Today, Aug. 24

Posted By on Wed, Aug 24, 2011 at 10:35 AM

U of Alberta study seeks to harness microbes to turn coal into gas.

Alberta has some of the world's largest reserves of coal, but only about 5 percent of its coalbed methane can be tapped using current technology, and researchers at the University of Alberta are participating in a national, three-year study of anaerobic bacteria that live in coal seams, and how to facilitate the growth and production of that bacteria to produce natural gas from the coal.
Edmonton Journal; Aug. 24

Relationship between mining companies, environmental groups evolves in Idaho
Since 1970, when Cecil Andrus' opposition to a molybdenum mine in the White Clouds Mountains led to his election as governor, the relationship between mining companies and the environmental community, including the Idaho Conservation League, has improved, yet there is one issue on which no compromise appears forthcoming—mining in the Boise River watershed is still met with fierce opposition.
Idaho Statesman; Aug. 24

Salazar vacations in Wyoming, sounds off on land, water fund
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who is vacationing in Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks with his family, called on Congress to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which he said has been plundered to the tune of nearly $20 billion over past decades, defended Wyoming's deal with the federal government on wolf management, and touted the impact national parks have on states' economies.
Jackson Hole News & Guide; Aug. 24

Montana wildlife biologist: Wolves killed this week were pups
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks wolf biologist Liz Bradley said she was certain that the two wolves killed this week were the 4-month-old pups of the wolf the Bitterroot rancher killed five weeks ago as it ate a lamb.
Ravalli Republic; Aug. 24

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Your future, a little early

Posted By on Wed, Aug 24, 2011 at 9:00 AM

Find Rob Brezsny's Free Will Astrology online, every Wednesday, one day before it hits the Indy's printed pages.

ARIES (March 21-April 19): I predict that in the coming weeks, you will be able to extract an unexpected perk or benefit from one of your less glamorous responsibilities. I also predict that you will decide not to ram headfirst into an obstacle and try to batter it until it crumbles. Instead, you’ll dream up a roundabout approach that will turn out to be more effective at eliminating the obstacle. Finally, I predict that these departures from habit will show you precious secrets about how to escape more of your own negative conditioning in the future.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

We're #18

Posted By on Tue, Aug 23, 2011 at 5:30 PM

Gawker Media has been counting down the worst states in America, and I was sure the New York cool kids were going to bash Montucky as some sort of backwoods crazytown. You know, a smattering of the cheap Unabomber jokes, mountain-man cliches and bear attack references that scare away just enough Californians to keep the state as wild as it is, but that make locals wish for a bit more respect.

Well, we got ranked 18. That's worse than Wyoming, North Dakota and Idaho, but not, you know, in the bottom 10. Missoula earned some nice words, yet the Unabomber jokes, mountain-man cliches and bear attack references still crept in.

Here's the full write-up:

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Montana women, including Margot Kidder, arrested in Keystone XL protest

Posted By on Tue, Aug 23, 2011 at 4:45 PM

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A group holding a sign that read, "Montana Women for an Oil Free Future," were among those arrested outside the White House this morning in the ongoing protests against the Keystone XL pipeline. The group included Margot Kidder who is active in the Montana Democratic party and best known for her role as Lois Lane in the Superman movies. Fellow actor Tantoo Cardinal (Legends of the Fall, Dances with Wolves, Smoke Signals) was also arrested. Kidder is wearing black and holding the sign in the above picture; Cardinal is on Kidder's right.

TransCanada’s permit for the Keystone XL pipeline calls for it to run from Canada, through Montana, and all the way to Texas.

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Headwaters News: The Rockies Today, Aug. 23

Posted By on Tue, Aug 23, 2011 at 10:40 AM

The following links are courtesy of Headwaters News.

Groups sue BLM over cumulative effects of mining Wyoming coal
Last week, WildEarth Guardians, Sierra Club and Defenders of Wildlife filed a lawsuit in federal court in Washington D.C. against the Bureau of Land Management over the leasing of two tracts of coal in the Powder River Basin in Wyoming that contain a total of 350 million tons of coal, alleging that the agency failed to properly assess the cumulative environmental impacts of mining, shipping and burning the coal.
Casper Star-Tribune; Aug. 23

Alberta researcher says province needs to update reforestation plans
Under Alberta law, forestry companies must replant trees they harvest, but a new report from a University of Alberta researcher said the province's reforestation requirements need updating as the species listed in that plan no longer do well in the changed climate, and the report called for the province to rework the plan to allow for different species to be planted in zones to accommodate higher amounts of rain and warmer temperatures.
Edmonton Journal; Aug. 23

Idaho groundwater users' plan to buy fish farms flows to next level
A plan by Idaho groundwater user groups to buy three fish farms in the Thousand Springs area, and the farms' associated water rights, is moving along, with the groups awaiting a judge's approval of the plan.
Twin Falls Times-News; Aug. 23

USFS updates plan for Colorado forest to double gas wells
The U.S. Forest Service updated its 2007 management plan for the San Juan National Forest that essentially doubles the number of gas wells allowed in the 646,403-acre area in Colorado's Paradox Basin called the "Gothic Shale Gas Play Area," and four public meetings on the updated plan are scheduled next month, with the first held Sept. 1 in Norwood; the second held Sept. 7 in Durango, followed by a Sept. 8 meeting in Dove Creek, and the final one set in Cortez on Sept. 14.
Durango Herald; Aug. 23

High winds push Montana wildfire across hundreds of acres
Fire investigators don't know yet what ignited a wildfire on Monday evening on the hillside of West Riverside, a community near Missoula in western Montana, but high winds drove the wildfire across an estimated 1,500 acres within hours of ignition; no homes were evacuated as of Monday night, although the fire burned very near some residences.
Missoulian; Aug. 23

Idaho U.S. Rep. Simpson wants to revamp dairy industry's safety nets
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has provided price supports for the dairy industry since the Great Depression, but market conditions for the industry have changed dramatically over the intervening decades, and Idaho U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson wants to revamp those programs.
Idaho Statesman (McClatchy Newspapers); Aug. 23

Montana rancher again shoots wolves attacking his sheep
Five weeks to the day after Bittterroot rancher Dave Schram shot and killed a wolf as it ate a lamb it killed on his Montana property, Schram shot and killed two wolves that were attacking his sheep and goats on his property near the valley floor.
Ravalli Republic; Aug. 23

ExxonMobil says Montana spill will cost $42M to clean up
ExxonMobil, the owner of an oil pipeline that ruptured under Montana's Yellowstone River, causing an estimated 42,000 gallons of oil to leak into the river, said that it will cost more than $42 million to clean up the spill, with $40 million spent on emergency response work and $2.5 million on paying property damage claims.
Billings Gazette (AP); Aug. 23

Headwaters News is a project of the Center for the Rocky Mountain West at The University of Montana. It provides a daily snapshot of news and opinion in the Rocky Mountain region of North America, giving the changing mountain West a tool to understand itself and a platform for the exchange of ideas.

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