Idaho company wants to build repository for oilfield waste in Montana county
The drilling of thousands of oil wells in eastern Montana and western North Dakota produces tens of thousands of pounds of waste, from oily rags to rusted out drilling equipment, some of which contain residues of naturally occurring radioactive material, uranium and thorium, and Idaho-based DYAD Environmental Inc. is seeking approval from Valley County to store "stabilized" radioactive waste in the Montana county's landfill.
Great Falls Tribune; March 1
Bee experts cite lack of crop diversity, climate change in population declines
A couple of studies this week explored changes in bee populations, and one found that the honeybees did better in areas where wild bees and other insects were in evidence, and another suggested that a lack of diversity in agricultural crops was driving a decline in wild bees.
NPR.org; March 1
Montana researcher tracks decline in American bumblebee numbers
Laura Burkle of Montana State University is retracing the steps of naturalist Charles Robertson who collected and categorized insects in southern Illinois in the 1890s, and after 447 hours of searching, found less than half the 109 species Robertson recorded, and just one American bumblebee.
Helena Independent Record (AP); Feb. 28
WildEarth Guardians challenges approval of 7 coal mines in 4 states
On Thursday, WildEarth Guardians filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Colorado challenging permits issued by the Department of Interior for the School Creek, Black Thunder and Cordero Rojo mines in Wyoming, the Spring Creek Mine in Montana, the Trapper Mines in Colorado and the San Juan Mine in New Mexico.
Casper Star-Tribune and Associated Press; March 1
USDA edges closer to approving horse slaughter plant in New Mexico
In 2007, Congress passed an appropriations bill that barred the use of federal funds for inspectors at equine slaughterhouses, effectively banning the slaughter of horses, but that prohibition expired in 2011, and after a company in New Mexico sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture for not reactivating inspectors for such slaughterhouses, it appears the agency may be prepared to allow Valley Company to slaughter horses at its plant in Roswell.
New York Times; March 1
Idaho legislators streamline state's water plan
The Idaho Water Resource Board spent five years updating the state's water plan, which is used to support appeals for grants, but the state lawmakers rewrote the plan to remove references to changes in climate, endangered species and minimum stream flows, and the House Resources and Conservation Committee will take testimony on those changes at a hearing today.
Idaho Statesman; March 1
Colorado task force on marijuana legalization releases recommendations
On Thursday, the panel appointed by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper to study the issues surrounding implementation of Amendment 64, which legalizes adults' use of marijuana, released its report on how best to regulate the implementation, and recommended asking voters to approve an excise and specific sales tax for marijuana.
Denver Post; March 1
Idaho Senate panel approves bill to allow extra-heavy trucks on state's roads
Legislation that would allow trucks weighing up to 129,000 pounds on any roads in Idaho that could bear that load was approved by an Idaho Senate committee on Thursday, despite opposition from local officials in northern Idaho.
Spokane Spokesman-Review; March 1
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.