Montana Supreme Court issues ruling on Ruby River access case
A lower court decision on a private property owner's challenge of Montana's 1985 stream access law was partially overturned by the Montana Supreme Court on Thursday, with the high court returning the matter to District Judge Loren Tucker, mandating that he amend his 2012 decision to allow access across James Cox Kennedy's land to the Ruby River as the route used was a prescriptive easement, and take whatever measures necessary to establish a permanent right-of-way to preserve that access route.
Helena Independent Record (Lee State Bureau); Jan. 17
U.S. transportation officials, rail, oil industry reps meet on rail safety
After a closed door meeting in Washington D.C. on Thursday between U.S. Transportation officials and representatives of the oil and rail industry, federal officials said the companies agreed to make some voluntary changes designed to make transporting oil by rail more safe.
Great Falls Tribune (AP); Jan. 17
USDA declares drought disaster in counties in western states
On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture declared natural disaster due to drought in counties in 11 states, giving eligible farmers access to federal emergency disaster aid in Colorado, Idaho, Utah, New Mexico, Nevada, Kansas, Texas, Arkansas, Hawaii, Oklahoma and California.
Idaho Statesman (AP); Jan. 17
Idaho Fish and Game Commission approves elk management plan
There was little debate at Thursday's Idaho Fish and Game Commission meeting, where the statewide elk management plan was unanimously approved by the commission.
Twin Falls Times-News; Jan. 16
Tribal judge in Montana issues order on disbursement of Salazar settlement
A lawsuit brought by members of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes in Montana challenging the tribes' decision to pay out a portion of its $150 million share of the $1-billion Salazar settlement to individual tribal members and retain $72 million in tribal coffers was dismissed by a tribal judge this week.
Missoulian; Jan. 17
Denver airport, transportation district take rail line cost fight to court
After losing its fight before an administrative board with the Regional Transportation District over who should pay what construction and other costs of extending RTD's East Rail Line to Denver International Airport, the airport has sued the transportation district in Colorado district court.
Denver Post; Jan. 17
Montana DEQ approves exploration permit for Black Butte Copper project
On Thursday, Tintina Alaska Exploration Company received the go-ahead from the Montana Department of Environmental Quality for its Black Butte Copper Project, allowing the Canadian company to proceed to tunnel into an area near White Sulphur Springs to explore for copper, although no work can proceed until the state sets the amount of a reclamation bond and the company pays it.
Helena Independent Record; Jan. 17
Boise builders heed Idaho homebuyers' changing needs
While many homebuyers in and around the Boise metro area are still drawn to larger homes with big backyards, there is a growing need for homes for people whose focus isn't puttering around the house on the weekends, but are instead seeking low-maintenance homes with little yard work required, and Idaho companies are meeting that demand with "skinny homes" on small lots.
Idaho Statesman; Jan. 17
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.