Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.
BLM accepts Signal Peak's bid for Montana coal
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management awarded Signal Peak Energy five tracts of coal near the company's mine in Montana, after the company bid $10.65 million, or 30 cents per recoverable ton, which was double the amount the company bid for the coal when the BLM offered it for sale last year.
Montana approves expanded bison tolerance zone near Yellowstone Park
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the state Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday that the tolerance zone for bison that wander out of Yellowstone National Park into Montana would expand by 75,000 acres.
Billings Gazette (AP);
BLM director: Utah legislation to control federal lands will not succeed
At a congressional hearing on Tuesday, U.S. Bureau of Land Management Director Bob Abbey said efforts under way in the Utah Legislature to put federal lands under state control have no chance of being implemented, and he said legislators would better serve the state if they spent their time working with federal officials on management decisions.
Salt Lake Tribune;
Idaho governor: Give states control of federal forest lands
Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter warned federal lawmakers who are part of the Western Caucus that the "Big Burn of 1910," a wildfire that burned more than 3 million acres in Eastern Washington, Idaho and Montana, could easily happen again, and the Idaho governor said states should be allowed to manage the federal forests contained within their borders to help lower the wildfire risk.
Idaho state senator drops bill that would have expanded wolf actions
On Tuesday, Idaho state Sen. Jeff Siddoway withdrew legislation that would have greatly expanded options ranchers could use on wolves because he believed the bill could mean wolves would be returned to the federal endangered species list.
Conservation groups join Montana lawsuit in support of logging project
On Tuesday, the Wilderness Society and the Montana Wilderness Association joined 25 other entities in filing briefs in support of the 2,038-acre Colt Summit Project in Lolo National Forest, a logging project that is being challenged by the Alliance for Wild Rockies and three other environmental groups.
Great Falls Tribune;
Montana forum on energy leases contains cautionary lessons
At the half-day forum for landowners on navigating the energy lease process hosted by the Montana Farm Bureau in Billings on Tuesday, Ralph Montgomery, a landowner on the state's Hi-Line urged farmers and ranchers not to lease more than 640 acres at a time, to not sign a lease until they were satisfied with the terms, and to make sure any specific conditions they want are written in the lease.
Montana meeting set to help communities deal with energy boom
A public meeting is scheduled in Choteau on Thursday to give communities in Pondera and Teton counties, an area of Montana where energy development has strong potential, a chance to learn how an energy boom could affect the environment and increase demands on communities' infrastructure.
Great Falls Tribune;
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