Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.
Utah: Feds should get out of the way of energy development
Utah officials and energy company representatives said federal foot-dragging is hampering energy development in the state, with federal permits averaging about 300 days to process, compared to 180 days in Wyoming, although there are a combined 100,000 oil and gas wells currently producing in the Beehive State, an all-time high, and about 1,000 active permits in the state on which energy companies had yet to act.
Salt Lake Tribune; March 5
Vernal residents want more Utah ozone funds spent on health issues
The energy industry, along with federal, state and local communities in Utah's Uinta Basin, have spent about $5.5 million studying ozone levels in the basin, and the Tri-County Health Department has received at $15,000 in federal funding to air asthma-awareness ads, and some residents would prefer that more money be spent addressing the human-health issues caused by high ozone levels, and less spent on ensuring regulations won't be implemented that would curb oil and gas operations.
Salt Lake Tribune;March 5
Group tries unique approach to protect area of Alberta from logging
Timberwolf, a new coalition, has filed a land claim on behalf of the resident wildlife in the Castle area of southwest Alberta, including several species, such as the grizzly bear and westslope cutthroat trout, which are considered threatened species.
Calgary Herald;March 3
Colorado high court strikes down university's ban on guns on campus
The Colorado Supreme Court struck down University of Colorado's ban on guns on campuses, ruling that the university overstepped its authority when issuing the ban on students carrying licensed concealed weapons on campus.
Denver Post;March 5
AP analysis finds private prisons not the money savers Idaho says they are
Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and state legislators have long touted private prisons as a way for the state to save money, but an Associated Press analysis finds that the savings may not be as high as touted, although the state does not appear interested in crunching the numbers to determine the extent of savings.
Idaho Statesman (AP);March 5
Two wind farms in Wyoming have new owners
TIAA-CREF, a company that manages retirement accounts for teachers, and Cook Inlet Region Inc., an Alaska-based American Indian company, contributed $238 million and joined Edison Mission Energy to create Capistrano Wind Partners LLC, the new owner of the 61-megawatt Mountain Wind I and the 80-megawatt Mountain Wind II projects in southeastern Wyoming, as well as a wind farm in Texas.
Casper Star-Tribune;March 5
Energy work on Montana's Rocky Mountain Front gets mixed reaction
Oil companies are again boring holes in land along Montana's Rocky Mountain Front, and some residents of Teton and Pondera counties welcome the work and money an energy boom would bring, while others worry about how their lives and communities will be changed by such a boom.
Ravalli County to vote on wolf policy in advance of Montana FWP meeting
The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Commission will meet Wednesday to discuss possible changes to its wolf management plan after hunters failed to fill the quota during the last hunting season, but Ravalli County commissioners won't wait for that meeting, as the board plans to meet today to vote on its own wolf management policy, and ranchers in the county are working to get a bounty program in place to help control the predators.
Ravalli Republic (AP);March 3
Mountain West 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.