Air quality tests performed two days after Midwest School, 40 miles north of Casper, Wyoming, was evacuated in May for a gas leak found benzene at 200 times safe levels, according to health officials.
The Salt Creek Oil Field, which surrounds Midwest, has been drilled since the late 1800s. There are 120 abandoned wells in the 640 acres around Midwest, according to state records. FDL [Energy] identified and plugged the well responsible for the leak and is monitoring other the wells in the area, under the guidance of the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.
Ultimately, the trial will likely be a critical touchstone amidst a spate of Sagebrush Rebellion activities throughout the West in the past few years. It will inevitably touch on the issue of federal management of public lands, a talking point in this year’s election, as well as gun ownership and use, a discussion after a string of mass shootings and gun violence has brought gun control to the forefront of national conversation.
While the seasonal temperature cycle typically peaks in July, August 2016 wound up tying July 2016 as the warmest month ever recorded.
Unpacking the prospects of a Owyhee Canyonlands National Monument.
…Obama has created more than two dozen national monuments, protecting more square miles of land and sea than any predecessor.
If these actions delight some, they alarm others — notably folk who run cattle, mine, log or otherwise exploit nature’s bounty in picturesque bits of America. One such place is the Owyhee basin of eastern Oregon, a remote landscape of wild rivers and vertiginous cliffs, and high desert edged with red and pink rocks. Before Mr Obama steps down, environmentalists, outdoor-leisure companies (including Keen, an Oregon-based shoe-maker) and some Democratic politicians want him to create an Owyhee Canyonlands National Monument covering as much as 2.5m acres.
Mosida Farms has 16,000 cows producing 92,000 gallons of milk every day—about 18 percent of all the milk sold in Utah. Now a solar array almost twice the size of a football field provides about 20 percent of the farm’s electricity.
“Yeah, this is very good-sized for the state of Utah,” said Billy Sorenson of RS Energy, the company that installed the solar panels. “It’s probably the largest one, agricultural one, for the state of Utah.”
The panels are expected to generate 950,000 kilowatt-hours per year. That’s enough juice to power nearly 200 family homes. Instead of powering homes, it will provide about 20 percent of the Bateman farm’s annual electricity demand. The family hopes it will be a hedge against rising electricity costs.
A government-commissioned study concludes there’s considerable risk that a $57 million dam and fish bypass proposed on the Yellowstone River, near the Montana-North Dakota border, won’t meet its goal of helping the ancient, endangered pallid sturgeon reach upstream spawning grounds.
“There is no evidence that the behavior of adult fish can be manipulated to attract them to the bypass channel, that they would be motivated to swim upstream through the bypass channel, or that they would navigate upstream through the proposed bypass channel,” panel members said in the 74-page report.
On October 1, Alberta’s current minimum wage of $11.20 per hour will rise to $12.20, then to $13.60 a year later until reaching $15 on Oct. 1, 2018. In the U.S., the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, though several states have higher minimums.
The province estimates that 305,000 employed Albertans earn less than $15 an hour, two-thirds of whom are women.
Of those figures, it estimates one in four are students, one-third are in retail, one quarter in food services, 40 per cent are heads of households, and five per cent are working single parents.
Arch Coal, the second largest U.S. coal miner, has agreed to set aside collateral to cover future mine cleanup costs as part of its bankruptcy reorganization plan.
The plan would end Arch’s use of self-bonding, a controversial federal exemption that the largest U.S. coal companies have used for decades. Its use exempts companies from posting bonds or other securities to cover the cost of returning mined land to its natural state.
Arch had $485.5 million in self-bonds in Wyoming when it filed for bankruptcy protection in January, saddled with $6 billion of debt.
The Rev. Dr. Karen Oliveto recently began her tenure as bishop of the Mountain Sky Area of the United Methodist Church, and in doing so became first openly gay pastor in the denomination to hold the leadership post in the second largest denomination in the country. Based in Denver, she’ll work with churches in Montana, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and a part of Idaho. “It was tough breaking that stained-glass ceiling,” Oliveto said in a recent interview in Billings.
The liberal side of the denomination calls her election the culmination of a hard-fought battle to fully include LGBTQ people in the life of the denomination. Conservatives are disappointed in both the action and its timing, saying it violates the UMC’s governing policies.
One thing most agree on is that her election could be one more step toward schism in a denomination that finds it increasingly difficult to call itself the United Methodist Church.
Environmental groups have filed a petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service arguing that distinct populations of the lesser prairie chicken, including one in southeast Colorado, warrant emergency protections as climate change exacerbates threats to the species.
In a recent study in Energy Policy, Erica Belmont, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Wyoming, and colleague Emily Beagle do the math on whether it would make sense to burn dead trees in existing coal plants, which can be “co-fired” with wood.
In this regulatory context, burning trees that are already destined to decompose, catch fire, or be incinerated — and thus, give off greenhouse gases to the atmosphere no matter what — could conceivably supplant some of coal’s voluminous emissions.
Bozeman-based author David Quammen wrote all of the May 2016 issue of National Geographic devoted entirely to America’s first national park. He then expanded the project into a book, “Yellowstone: A Journey Through America’s Wild Heart,” released last month. He reads from the book tonight in Missoula and on Tuesday in Bozeman.
In “Yellowstone,” Quammen sought to provide a comprehensive view of the complicated ecosystem, focusing on history, ecology and management. The meat of the book is structured as a wheel, with grizzlies at the hub and their food sources spokes leading into other issues. Cutthroat trout address invasive species; Meat from elk and bison lead to surrounding private lands; Whitebark pine nuts give way to a greater discussion of climate change; and cutworm moths show how the delicate ecosystem is connected to agriculture in America’s heartland.
“It has given me an even deeper appreciation for how complicated and interconnected everything is in Yellowstone,” Quammen said. “…This is a book about America’s relationship with the natural world, not just a book about Yellowstone.”
At the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center, just outside Yellowstone National Park, eight bears with a demonstrated aptitude for raiding trash cans, breaking into parked vehicles or burgling chicken coops have seen their skills put to use as product testers.
A legislative panel endorsed a pair of bills to sustain and expand installations of rooftop solar-power systems in Montana. One would maintain the current net-metering rate structure, which pays retail prices. The other would quintuple the maximum allowable size of systems, but only for government-owned systems.
The state’s dominant electric utility, NorthWestern Energy, also made clear it still opposes increasing the cap at all.
“In a very real sense, saying the 250-KW cap is for nonprofits — that’s just a camel’s nose under the tent,” said John Alke, an attorney for NorthWestern. “It will be 250 for everybody. … The subsidy doesn’t go away because it’s a nonprofit entity.”
NorthWestern maintains that solar-power systems that sell power back to the company are being subsidized by other electric customers, because solar-power customers then don’t pay their fair share of maintaining the system.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced grants for a pair of programs that will attempt to use private financing to restore greater sage grouse habitat across the West. One is a so-called land bank in Wyoming that credits ranchers and landowners for protecting habitat. The other establishes a fund to guarantee landowners in seven states can recover their costs after restoring sage grouse habitat.
So-called land banks have been used previously for other species, requiring developers to offset their impacts by creating or paying for new habitat elsewhere, said Brian Rutledge, a sage grouse advocate with the National Audubon Society.
But to reverse the sage grouse’s fortunes, Rutledge said the trade-off between habitat destroyed and habitat protected cannot be a simple one-for-one exchange.
“Setting aside part of the land doesn’t make up for destroying another part of it. Even if it’s one-for-one you end up with 50 percent less than you had,” he said. “We have to be gaining.”
CNN has recognized Brad Ludden, founder of the non-profit First Descents, which provides outdoor adventures for young adults impacted by cancer.
Elizabeth Hill and her family, including two young daughters, had traveled from South Dakota to the Standing Rock camp to support the opposition to the pipeline. They didn’t anticipate violence. Then a private security team used dogs and pepper spray against the crowd.
The use of telemedicine is widespread and expanding, but the technology isn’t a panacea for all that ails rural healthcare today.
In March, the Journal of Rural Health published a study illustrating that rural hospitals and clinics have significantly slower Internet connections than do their urban counterparts. Between 2010 and 2014, that gap widened, and continues to widen, “a cause for concern,” noted the authors.
“I can’t imagine telemedicine can replace a facility, because you always need a place for people to go,” Marlene Maheu, executive director of San Diego’s TeleMental Institute, says. “You can’t do a video consultation at a McDonald’s. Telemedicine is not designed to treat the full-range of mental illness, such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. But it can help with the initial screening.”
The trial, now underway, could be as unorthodox as the crime itself.
In a court document made public last week, Bundy attorney Marcus Mumford cited the 1948 western film “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” to make a point about federal jurisdiction, the Los Angeles Times reports. In one scene in the classic movie, Fred Dobbs (played by Humphrey Bogart) asks a lawman who is actually a bandit where his badge is, to which the lawman responds, “Badges? We ain’t got no badges. We don’t need no badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges!”
Groups contend that a copper-sliver mine proposed to tunnel beneath Montana’s Cabinet Mountains Wilderness would illegally siphon the region’s streams of water.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service erred in excluding large swaths of the Rocky Mountains when it designated, in 2014, 40,000 square miles of habitat as critical to the survival of imperiled Canada lynx, a federal judge ruled Wednesday. The agency must now consider adding more habitat for the wild cats in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and New Mexico.
The judge cited the presence of a reproducing lynx population in the southern Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Agency officials had earlier concluded that area was “not essential” for the recovery of the species, pointing in part to low population densities of snowshoe hares that lynx eat.
“The (Fish and Wildlife) Service’s own representations suggest that parts of Colorado constitute suitable critical habitat,” Christensen wrote. He added that snowshoe hares are “certainly present” in the southern Rockies at densities “at or near” the level needed to support lynx.
“In such a close call….the (Endangered Species Act) demands that the tie go to the species,” the judge said.
The EPA has put Colorado’s Gold King Mine and 47 other nearby mining-related sites, together known as the Bonita Peak Mining District, on the National Priorities List for Superfund cleanup. The EPA has waste quantity data on 32 of Bonita Peak’s 48 sources, which discharge contaminated water at at combined rate of 5.4 million gallons per day.
The Columbia Falls Aluminum Company property in Northwest Montana was also designated a Superfund site.
Jason Begay, an associate professor at the University of Montana School of Journalism and the president of the Native American Journalists Association, reports from Standing Rock.
“We want the Standing Rock Sioux to know that we are serious about our support,” said Mark Azure, president of the Fort Belknap Indian Community in central Montana. Azure arrived at the camp Friday evening with about 30 members of the Gros Ventre and Assiniboine tribes, which call Fort Belknap home, bringing with them truckloads of food and supplies collected in community donation drives.
“It was powerful,” Azure said recalling his group arriving into the campground as supporters lined up on both sides of the entrance singing, drumming and cheering as the Fort Belknap vehicles drove between the corridor of flags in the evening light. “It was a feeling I don’t think will ever be duplicated.”
Researchers have found evidence of sustainable ecosystems taking hold in oil and gas wells, populated in part by a never-before-seen genus of bacteria dubbed “Frackibacter.”
Almost all the microbes they found had been seen elsewhere before, and many likely came from the surface ponds that energy companies draw on to fill the wells. But that’s not the case with the newly identified Candidatus Frackibacter, which may be unique to hydraulic fracturing sites, said Kelly Wrighton, assistant professor of microbiology and biophysics at Ohio State.
A new project delves deep into the bushes to examine the role the somewhat mysterious huckleberry plays in the food chain.
A lot of people will be interested in the answers. Wildlife managers know that good or bad huckleberry crops influence how many black and grizzly bears wander into town looking for apples or bird feeders — but they don’t know how to predict a good or bad year. Huckleberries react to drought and drenching conditions, but can they forecast them? How might forest thinning and hazardous fuels work affect huckleberry patches?
Enbridge had been trying to expand its natural gas transportation business to reduce reliance on oil shipments, an effort it will be spared after acquiring Spectra’s 141,000 kilometres of gas lines.
As flagging investment and environmental opposition slows opportunities to haul tar-like bitumen from Canada’s oil sands, the nation’s two pipeline giants have been on the prowl for deals that will bolster future earnings. After a decade that has seen proposals to build conduits from the oil sands to foreign markets crumble, both companies have set their sights on existing natural gas transportation assets with a focus on the prolific Marcellus Shale in the U.S.
The 300,000-square-foot manufacturing facility is Clif Bar’s first owned and operated bakery, and it features a host of cutting-edge technology to maximize energy efficiency, reduce the company’s carbon footprint, and create a happy, healthy workplace for its employees (who, by the way, are the owners of the company).
Find Rob Brezsny's "Free Will Astrology" online, every Wednesday, one day before it hits the Indy's printed pages.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): In accordance with the astrological omens, I suggest you spend less energy dwelling in profane time so you expand your relationship with sacred time. If that's of interest to you, consider the following definitions. PROFANE TIME happens when you're engulfed in the daily grind. Swarmed by a relentless flurry of immediate concerns, you are held hostage by the chatter of your monkey mind. Being in SACRED TIME attunes you to the relaxing hum of eternity. It enables you to be in intimate contact with your soul's deeper agenda, and affords you extra power to transform yourself in harmony with your noble desires and beautiful intentions.
CANCER (June 21-July 22): Prediction #1: You will attract truckloads of good luck by working to upgrade and refine the way you communicate. Prediction #2: You will tickle the attention of interesting people who could ultimately provide you with clues you will need to thrive in 2017. #3: You will discover secrets of how to articulate complicated feelings and subtle ideas
that have been locked inside you. Prediction #4: You'll begin a vibrant conversation that will continue to evolve for a long time.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): You know you have a second brain in your gut, right? (If not, read this:
http://bit.ly/secondbrain.) During the past three weeks, I have been beaming telepathic instructions toward this smart part of you. Here's an edited version of the message I've been sending: "Cultivate your tenacity, darling. Build up your stamina, sweetheart. Feed your ability to follow through on what you've started, beautiful. Be persistent and spunky and gritty, my dear." Alas, I'm not sure my psychic broadcasts have been as effective as I'd hoped. I think
you need further encouragement. So please summon more fortitude and staying power, you gutsy stalwart. Be staunch and dogged and resolute, you stouthearted powerhouse.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Is "Big Bang" the best term we can come up with to reference the beginning of the universe? It sounds violent and messy – like a random, accidental splatter. I would much prefer a term that suggests sublime elegance and playful power – language that would capture the awe and reverence I feel as I contemplate the sacred mystery we are privileged to inhabit. What if we used a different name for the birth of creation, like the "Primal Billow" or the "Blooming Ha Ha" or the "Majestic Bouquet"? By the way, I recommend that you consider those last three terms as being suitable titles for your own personal life story in the coming weeks. A great awakening and activation are imminent.
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