Bakken oil field in N.D., Montana hits 1-billion-barrel mark in production
Oil production in the Bakken oil field in western North Dakota and eastern Montana hit the 1-billion-barrel production mark, and Oklahoma City-based Continental Resources Inc., one of the companies that has been operating in the fields there the longest, said two-thirds of that oil has occurred within the past three years.
Flathead Beacon (AP); April 30
Report cites wildfire smoke in Montana counties' poor air quality
The American Lung Association released its annual "State of the Air" report for the year 2012, and again, wildfire smoke was a factor in poor grades given to Silver Bow, Lewis and Clark, Missoula and Ravalli counties in Montana.
Montana Standard; April 30
Study tracks states' losses if federal highway fund goes bust
The day after President Obama sent his four-year, $304 billion transportation bill to Congress, the nonpartisan group Transportation for America released a report Wednesday that provided details in how much federal funding for roads each state could close should the Highway Trust Fund go broke, with Utah estimated to lose $400 million next year in such funding.
Salt Lake Tribune; April 30
Bozeman man challenges Montana governor's forest recommendations
Steve Kelly, a Bozeman artist who ran for Montana's lone U.S. House seat in 2002, filed a lawsuit challenging Montana Gov. Steve Bullock's recommendation that 5.1 million acres of federal forest lands within the state be targeted for remediation work, including logging, because the governor did not allow any public input before making that recommendation.
Missoulian (Lee State Bureau); April 30
Utah U.S. Rep. Stewart: Federal agencies don't need firepower
On the floor of the U.S. House on Tuesday, Utah Rep. Chris Stewart said that he is going to try to cut funding for federal agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management and the Internal Revenue Service to require them to use local law enforcement rather than their own personnel in situations such as the recent confrontation in Nevada with rancher Cliven Bundy.
Salt Lake Tribune; April 30
Report: Wyoming landowners got $77M in 3 years for sage grouse
A report released on the Natural Resource Conservation Service's Sage Grouse Initiative at the behest of the Western Governors' Association said that, over the past three years, the federal government spent $236 million on the program to protect an estimated 3.8 million acres throughout the West, with $77 million of that spent in Wyoming to protect 1.12 million acres.
Casper Star-Tribune; April 30
Wilks brothers tell BLM that Bullwhacker Road in Montana will reopen
The previous owners of the Montana ranch now owned by Dan and Farris Wilks had sought to declare a 3.4-mile stretch of Bullwhacker Road that passes through the ranch a private road, and on Monday, a representative for the Wilks brothers told the Bureau of Land Management that the road will be reopened to the public, restoring access to 50,000 of federal lands in the Upper Missouri River Breaks.
Great Falls Tribune; April 30
Meridian grows into Idaho's second-largest city
In 1994, Meridian was Idaho's 10th largest city, then the boom hit and Treasure Valley enjoyed the best of the boom, with Boise, Nampa and Meridian ranked first, second and fifth in population in 2004, and with population estimates set to be released this week, Meridian will edge out Nampa to be the state's second largest city, and for the first time in Idaho's history, the largest cities in the state are nearly contiguous.
Idaho Statesman; April 30
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.