The Delta Montrose Electric Association, in an effort to generate more electricity locally from renewable sources, brought a case before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that could allow rural utilities across the country to tap into more distributed energy.
The ruling could effectively lift local generation caps for rural co-ops, explained Kevin Brehm, with the Rocky Mountain Institute. He estimates that if the nation’s rural co-ops were to transition completely to renewable energy, it would create a 200 gigawatt market — the equivalent of at least 100 Hoover Dams.
On Wednesday, brothers Ammon and Ryan Bundy and six other defendants charged during the 41-day occupation of Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge go on trial.
…the upcoming trial will be an unpredictable affair with a good amount of gaveling and a decent chance of some contempt-of-court rulings. But it may also prove to be the last stand for a family that has become the face of the West’s anti-government angst and the movement to transfer federal lands to states that has swelled in recent years.
“The Bundy family and their outlandish opinions on American democracy and American public lands will no doubt be on display during this trial,” says Greg Zimmerman, of the progressive research group Center for Western Priorities. “But let’s not lose sight of the fact that the Bundys have continued to receive support from elected officials.”
A day after the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe filed court papers saying it found several sites of “significant cultural and historic value” along the path of the Dakota Access oil pipeline, construction crews bulldozing land on Saturday sparked a violent face-off between protesters and security officers. On Sunday, the tribe filed an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order “to prevent further destruction of the tribe’s sacred sites.” A ruling on the tribe’s earlier request to stop construction of pipeline while the tribe pursues its lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, alleging violation of the National Historic Preservation Act during the pipeline permitting process, is expected by the end of the week.
The economics are dubious, and opposition to coal-export terminals up and down the West Coast is strong, yet some Wyoming coal producers believe prices will rebound and Asian demand for electricity will offer an additional market niche.
…some see exporting coal as a vain hope for Wyoming, as the industry faces a potential long-term drawdown in demand from China, the largest consumer of coal worldwide.
Wyoming coal production is down 25 to 30 percent over the last five years, and there are concerns that it will not bounce back the way it has in the past, said Rob Godby director of the Center for Energy Economics and Public Policy at the University of Wyoming.
“Korea and Japan, while they would be good markets for Wyoming if Wyoming could get their coal there, are not big enough,” he said. “To really make a difference for us, we would have to be shipping to Korea, Japan and China. To really get us back to where we were, we need to get 100 million tons of production back.”
The Salt Lake Tribune’s two-part series exploring water-quality issues along the Wasatch Front finds that “the path to clear water is mired by competing politics and science — and a population that might not care enough.”
Today, about 71 percent of Utah’s effluent — treated sewage — ultimately ends up in the Great Salt Lake. Upstream, about 13.5 percent of the water in Utah Lake comes from wastewater treatment plants, according to the latest count in 2010.
The current projection — assuming all other factors remain constant — is that as Utah County continues to grow, effluent discharge will account for more than a quarter of all the water flowing into Utah Lake by 2050, Baker said.
He believes addressing this trend is the first step to limiting algal growth on Utah Lake.
Idaho’s Pioneer fire, which had charred 181,145 acres as of Monday, the largest active fire in the nation, is burning so hot that it’s producing pyrocumulus clouds, meteorological phenomena that have become more frequent across the West over the past 30 years.
In acquiring Houston-based Spectra Energy for $28 billion, Calgary-based Enbridge would further consolidate the pipeline business with the biggest foreign purchase by a Canadian company. The news comes as pipeline projects face mounting opposition. Last week, Enbridge essentially pulled the plug on the Sandpiper pipeline because it drew “fire from environmentalists and American Indian tribes and has been mired in the state’s regulatory process for 2 ½ years.” A month ago, Enbridge announced it was partnering with Marathon Petroleum and buying a $1.5 billion stake in the Bakken Pipeline System, which includes the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline.
EPA work at the Gold King is emerging as the most visible and potentially precedent-setting effort to address a toxic mine problem that each day contaminates more than 1,800 miles of streams around Colorado and thousands more waterways across an arid, increasingly populated West that cries for clean water. In Colorado and other states, an estimated 160,000 inactive mines — mostly dormant for decades like the Gold King — ooze acid metals, festering sores on fragile tundra. Near the Gold King, three other mining tunnels spew an additional 528 gallons a minute that isn’t treated as it goes into the Animas River headwaters.
Over the last two weeks, about 40 fishery personnel from the park, the Forest Service, and fish and game agencies in Montana and Wyoming removed native Yellowstone cutthroat trout, put them in a holding stream, and then poisoned about 28 miles of Soda Butte Creek and its tributaries to eliminate non-native fish, especially brook trout. “We’re pretty confident this is totally done,” said Todd Koel, director of Yellowstone’s native fish conservation program. “If there’s one out there, (she’s) going to have a tough time finding a mate.”
With non-native brook trout removed from Soda Butte Creek, the park’s fisheries staff is one step closer to returning Yellowstone to a native fish stronghold, yet there are many waters still harboring introduced fish species.
Out of 400 miles of Yellowstone’s waters that originally supported native species, only 30 miles did not include introduced fish by 2013. In the past few years the work of fisheries staff has increased that number to about 80 miles of streams and 50 acres of lakes, including Goose Lake in the Firehole River drainage.
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality and Trout Unlimited are partnering to restore Telegraph Creek, part of the Little Blackfoot drainage that’s dotted with more than 200 abandoned hardrock mines and about 100 sources of acid mine drainage.
In 2008, DEQ investigated the shuttered silver and lead Lilly/Orphan Boy located 10.5 miles south of Elliston, with the goal of treating or stopping acid-producing discharge and removing heavy metal contamination.
Piles of waste rock including one pile split by Telegraph Creek were identified as pollution sources, along with a collapsed adit turned orange from acid mine drainage.
The efforts to neutralize the acid discharge, including introducing tons of manure into the mine as one remediation technique, were unsuccessful.
In 2012, the [Abandoned Mine Lands Program] stopped funding hardrock projects to focus on abandoned coal mines, Coleman said, essentially shelving the work done up to that point.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Are you willing to lose at least some of your inhibitions? Are you curious to find out what it feels like to cavort like a wise wild child? If you want to fully cooperate with life's plans, you will need to consider those courses of action. I am hoping that you'll accept the dare, of course. I suspect you will thrive as you explore the pleasures of playful audacity and whimsical courage and effervescent experiments. So be blithe, Taurus! Be exuberant! Be open to the hypothesis that opening to jaunty and jovial possibilities is the single most intelligent thing you can do right now.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): What's the current status of your relationship with your feet? Have you been cultivating and cherishing your connection with the earth below you?
The reason I ask, Gemini, is that right now it's especially important for you to enjoy intimacy with gravity, roots, and foundations. Whatever leads you down and deeper will be a source of good fortune. Feeling grounded will provide you with an aptitude for practical magic. Consider the possibilities of going barefoot, getting a foot massage, or buying a new shoes that are both beautiful and comfortable.
CANCER (June 21-July 22): A woman in the final stages of giving birth may experience acute discomfort. But once her infant spills out into the world, her distress can transform
into bliss. I don't foresee quite so dramatic a shift for you, Cancerian. But the transition you undergo could have similar elements: from uncertainty to grace; from agitation to relief; from
constriction to spaciousness. To take maximum advantage of this blessing, don't hold onto the state you're leaving behind – or the feelings it aroused in you.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): In one of my dreams last night, a Leo sensualist I know advised me to take smart pills and eat an entire chocolate cheesecake before writing my next Leo horoscope. In another dream, my Leo friend Erica suggested that I compose your horoscope while attending an orgy where all the participants were brilliant physicists, musicians, and poets. In a third dream, my old teacher Rudolf (also a Leo) said I should create the Leo horoscope as I sunbathed on a beach in Maui while being massaged by two sexy geniuses. Here's how I interpret my dreams: In the coming days, you can literally increase your intelligence by indulging in luxurious comforts and sensory delights.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Play a joke on your nervous anxiety. Leap off the ground or whirl in a circle five times as you shout, "I am made of love!" Learn the words and melody to a new song that lifts your mood whenever you sing it. Visualize yourself going on an adventure that will amplify your courage and surprise your heart. Make a bold promise to yourself, and acquire an evocative object that will symbolize your intention to fulfill that promise. Ask yourself a soul-shaking question you haven't been wise enough to investigate before now. Go to a wide-open space, spread your arms out in a greeting to the sky, and pray for a vision of your next big goal.
"Engstrom did not attend the press conference." Profiles in Courage Award for the captain of…
What happened to the driver and passengers of the other vehicle?