Thursday, February 27, 2014

Rockies Today, Feb. 27

Posted By on Thu, Feb 27, 2014 at 1:56 PM

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Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

WildEarth Guardians petitions to ban coal mining in sage grouse habitat
The U.S. Office of Surface Mining has 90 days to respond to the petition filed by WildEarth Guardians on Wednesday that seeks a ban on coal mining in areas that are prime habitat for sage grouse, a species that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering for protection under the Endangered Species Act.
Great Falls Tribune (AP); Feb. 27

Canada again rejects Taseko's proposed open-pit mine in B.C.
On Wednesday, Canada's Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq said the adverse environmental consequences of Taseko Mines' proposed New Prosperity open-pit gold-copper mine in the interior of British Columbia could not be justified.
Vancouver Sun; Feb. 27

USGS releases transboundary map of watersheds in U.S., Canada
The U.S. Geological Survey's recent map provides information on the watersheds that cross the Canadian-U.S. border, including the Flathead River in Montana that has its headwaters in British Columbia, and the state's Milk River, which originates in Montana, flows north into Alberta and back into Montana.
Missoulian; Feb. 27

Idaho House passes 'ag-gag' bill, sends it to Otter's desk
A bill that would make it a criminal offense to make video or audio recordings of agricultural operations without express permission was approved by the Idaho House on Wednesday on a 56-14 vote and now moves to Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's desk.
Twin Falls Times-News; Feb. 27

Utah House panel advances bills to expand state's reach on public lands
On Wednesday, the Utah House Natural Resource, Agriculture and Environment Committee advanced three bills to extend the state's authority on public lands, including HB151, which would create the Commission for the Stewardship of Public Lands charged with furthering Utah's mission of assuming control over 30 million acres of federal lands within the state's borders.
Salt Lake Tribune; Feb. 27

Wyoming bill increases bonding cost for energy companies on split estates
The Wyoming Senate has already passed Senate File 83, which raises the bonding limit for energy companies drilling on lands where they just own the mineral interests from $2,000 to $10,000, and now the legislation is just three approving votes away from reaching Gov. Matt Mead's desk.
Casper Star-Tribune; Feb. 27

Montana FWP captures, relocates bighorn sheep from Flathead Lake island
In what's become nearly an annual event, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks personnel are capturing bighorn sheep on Wild Horse Island in Flathead Lake and giving them a helicopter ride to the mainland, where the 40 rams and 20 ewes will be taken to new locations in Northwest Montana.
Missoulian; Feb. 27

Alberta agency accuses TransAlta of manipulating energy market
In a complaint filed with the Alberta Utilities Commission on Monday, the province's electricity market watchdog charged that TransAlta manipulated the electricity market on four occasions in 2010 and 2011 by shutting down power plants during periods of peak demand to increase the pool price for power.
Calgary Herald; Feb. 27

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.

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