'Fiscal cliff' could end coal mining on Montana reservation
The third component of the "fiscal cliff" looming before Congress is the package of tax benefits for companies and individuals that includes a $2.26-per-ton tax break for the Westmoreland Coal Co. for each ton of coal it mines on the Crow Reservation in Montana.
USA Today; Nov. 16
Montana State Land Board to vote on Milk River ranch deal today
Residents of Hill County who live adjacent to the 4,505-acre Milk River Ranch that the Montana State Land Board will vote on purchasing today are questioning the $1,242-per-acre purchase price, as well as Gov. Brian Schweitzer's ties to the family that is selling the ranch. Editor's Note: A summary posted last week on a story about this proposed purchase said the Land Board would vote last week on the purchase. Mountain West News regrets the error.
Helena Independent Record; Nov. 18
Report lays out options for asbestos-laden forest in Montana
Montana-based Envirocon and Oregon-based The Beck Group contracted with the Lincoln County Port Authority to come up with a remediation plan for the 35,000 acres of forest around the now-defunct W.R. Grace and Co. vermiculite mine near Libby to deal with asbestos-laden trees, and the 45-page report lays out a variety of options.
Missoulian; Nov. 18
NPR: EPA loophole lets drillers release wastewater on Wyoming reservation
A National Public Radio investigation into oil companies' release of wastewater from drilling operations on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming found that the Environmental Protection Agency allows those releases in areas of the arid West where ranchers sought the exemption to allow them to reuse water for stock, but in some areas of the reservation, the wastewater is leaving visible deposits in the water or on the shoreline, as well as visible foam and sheen, all of which are prohibited under EPA regulations.
KERAnews.org; Nov. 16
Small businesses in Wyoming worry about loss of federal contracts
The looming "fiscal cliff" has small business owners across Wyoming concerned about what will happen to them if the federal contracts upon which they depend end.
Casper Star-Tribune; Nov. 18
Idaho Roadless Commission votes on logging projects, boundary move
The Idaho Roadless Commission was created by the Idaho Roadless Rule that governs the management of 20 million acres of national forest lands in the state, and last week, the commission voted yes on a thinning project and on a reforestation program, but a plan to move the boundary of a roadless area to allow a road to be built to accommodate the construction of a cellphone tower was rejected because not all agreed with the proposal, and if all are not on board, a project will not be approved.
Idaho Statesman; Nov. 19
Idaho women start 'seed library' in Boise
The Common Wealth Seed Library, created by Carrie Jones from Draggin' Wing Farm and Casey O'Leary from Earthly Delights Farm, will be an active seed exchange for Idaho farmers that comes with just one requirement: If you get seeds from the library, you have to return some to share.
Idaho Statesman; Nov. 16
Deadly methane harnessed to produce power for Colorado ski area
Aspen Skiing Co. invested $5.5 million of the $6 million needed to build a plant at the Elk Creek Mine that captures methane previously vented into the air and uses it to produce electricity, a project that the owner of the Colorado coal mine said should not be used as a basis to require other coal mines to follow suit.
Grand Junction Sentinel; Nov. 19
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.