Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.
New U.S. safety regulations for rail tanker cars delayed again
The soda-can shaped rail oil tanker car, and known as the DOT-111, has long been criticized for being prone to slit open during derailments or other accidents, but a plan to beef up the integrity of the rail car's structure set to take effect last October, has again been delayed by the U.S., due in part to the industry protesting the cost of updating all the DOT-111's in the system.
Billings Gazette (AP); July 29
Megaloads at Idaho port awaiting USFS clearance for route to Montana
Two water-purification units that are 255 feet long, 21 feet wide and weigh an estimated 644,000 pounds have been delivered to the Port of Lewiston, where they await transport through Idaho and Montana for ultimate delivery to Alberta's oilsands country, but until the U.S. Forest Service approves the loads moving along 100 miles of U.S. Highway 12 in Idaho that passes through the Nez Perce National Forest and several protected areas.
Missoulian; July 28
Solar, wind-generated power changes utilities' economic landscape
Just as cellphones caused a major shift in the telecommunications industry, so too, are wind, solar and other renewable energy installations changing utilities' established business model, and utilities are mounting full-fledged defenses of their business-as-usual model, while consumers and public utilities commissions hammer out net-metering issues on a state-by-state basis, with the most heated battle thus far occurring in California.
New York Times; July 28
Conservation groups sue BLM over oil shale development plan
Last week, the Sierra Club, Grand Canyon Trust, Living Rivers, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Rocky Mountain Wild, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Biodiversity Conservation Alliance filed a lawsuit in federal court in Denver against the federal government, alleging that its plan to develop oil shale resources in parts of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming violates the Endangered Species Act.
Casper Star-Tribune (AP); July 29
Lightning-sparked wildfire quickly runs across 8,500 acres
The 8,500-acre Fig Grove Fire north of Gooding shut down Idaho Highway 46 on Sunday afternoon, and fire officials estimate the wildfire will be 10,000 acres in size by Monday morning.
Twin Falls Times-News; July 29
Last year was a good one for CEO's in Idaho
In 2012 chief executive officers of Idaho's 13 publicly traded companies made roughly 50 times more money than the average worker.
Idaho Statesman; July 29
Much of fresh produce in Utah's healthier school lunches gets dumped
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's new guidelines for school lunches that contain more fresh fruits and vegetables left Utah students hungry, trash bins full of dumped fresh produce and a marked decrease in some districts of students eating at school.
Salt Lake Tribune; July 29
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