Monday, July 28, 2014

Rockies Today, July 28

Posted By on Mon, Jul 28, 2014 at 11:42 AM

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Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Blackfeet Confederacy leaders present bison plan to Montana legislators
Representatives of the Blackfeet Confederacy, representing tribal interests in both Montana and Alberta, presented a plan to bring bison back to tribal lands along the Rocky Mountain Front in both Montana and Alberta to members of the Montana Legislature's State-Tribal Relations Committee.
Flathead Beacon (AP); July 28

Utility's filings with Montana PSC reflect differing rates for power
NorthWestern Energy has two filings pending before the Montana Public Service Commission: Its plan to buy 11 hydroelectric plants from PPL Montana that consumers would pay an estimated $60 per megawatt hour for electricity, but the utility is also asking the PSC to approve a plan that would allow it to pay small renewable energy power producers $40 per megawatt hour for excess power fed into the grid by those small projects, a discrepancy small power producers are questioning.
Helena Independent Record (Lee State Bureau); July 27

Debate on setbacks for oil, gas wells from homes moves to Wyoming
As oil and gas development moves closer to neighborhoods, states like Colorado and Texas struggle with allowing the drilling while protecting the public, and in Wyoming, where the setback between wells and homes is 350 feet, the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is examining a proposal to expand that setback.
Casper Star-Tribune; July 28

Utah PSC takes up Rocky Mountain Power's 'net metering' fee today
Rocky Mountain Power has 2,700 customers in Utah whose solar installations produce more electricity than they use and they feed back the excess power into the grid, and today the Utah Public Service Commission will take testimony on the utility's request to impose a $4.65 monthly fee on such customers to help pay its fixed costs for transmission and distribution of power.
Salt Lake Tribune; July 28

Solar industry urges Alberta to take advantage of perfect market conditions
A report released Monday by the Canadian Solar Industries Association said that Alberta has the best solar resources in Canada, and that the province should move quickly to tap into that power, given rising power prices, the retirement of coal-fired power plants, and the drop in price for solar installations.
Calgary Herald (Edmonton Journal); July 28

Hundreds of firefighters battle Levan Fire in central Utah
The 4,336-acre Levan Fire was 35 percent contained by Monday, but the steep, rugged desert terrain in which the fire was burning makes the time for complete containment uncertain, although the 1,400 Tunnel Hollow Fire near Morgan is expected to be fully contained by end of day, as is the nearby 200-acre Plateau Fire.
Salt Lake Tribune; July 28

Timber production on Idaho state lands hit record last fiscal year
Idaho Department of Lands seeks to meet the sustainable harvest goal of 250 million board feet annually, but the timber sale on lands burned by the Elk Fire Complex last year boosted production last fiscal year to 347 million board feet, a record.
Twin Falls Times-News (AP); July 28

Lack of coal leases puts Wyoming school projects on hold
No federal coal leases in 2013 in Wyoming means no money flowed from coal lease bonuses into the state's coffers, and state legislators are concerned that, should this trend continue, money for building new schools and renovating existing ones may dry up.
Casper Star-Tribune; July 28

Cattle prices move higher, while natural gas prices continue downward
Last Thursday, feeder cattle prices reached an all-time high of $2.19, as Americans' appetite for beef continues despite high prices and supplies are low, while natural gas prices were at an eight-month low this week.
Casper Star-Tribune (Paragon Investments); July 28

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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