Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Rockies Today, Sept. 20

Posted By on Thu, Sep 20, 2012 at 10:55 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Study: Public lands on Montana's Rocky Mountain Front an economic driver
The Coalition to Protect the Rocky Mountain Front in Montana contracted with Headwaters Economics to do an economic assessment of a 100-mile stretch of the Rocky Mountain Front, and the study found that average annual wages in that area increased 15 percent between 2000 and 2010, while statewide the average wage increased just 10 percent.
Helena Independent Record; Sept. 20

PPL Montana says it will mothball Billings power plant in 2015
Officials of PPL Montana said the $38 million in upgrades needed to make the J.E. Corette power plant in Billings compliant with new emissions regulations to take effect in April 2015 don't make economic sense, given the state of the wholesale power market in the Northwest, and said the plant will be mothballed before those regulations take effect.
Billings Gazette; Sept. 20

Wyoming legislator suggests moving, or killing, bighorn sheep herd
In the event the Biodiversity Conservation Alliance wins its challenge of a U.S. Forest Service decision to continue to allow domestic sheep to graze on federal grazing allotments in the Encampment River canyon in Carbon County in southeastern Wyoming, state Sen. Larry Hicks has drafted legislation that would require the removal of the 40 or so bighorn sheep from those federal lands.
Casper Star-Tribune (AP); Sept. 20

Appeals court hears from Park Service, Utah on Canyonlands road appeal
The decision reached by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals on a case involving the National Park Service's closure of a road Canyonlands National Park in Utah before a three-judge panel of the court on Wednesday could have considerable impact, given that Utah has filed 20 lawsuits that challenge ownership of roads across federal lands.
Denver Post (AP); Sept. 20

Utah legislators get an update on push to gain control of federal lands
Kathleen Clarke, director of the Public Lands Coordinating Office, told Utah legislators on Wednesday that her office was coordinating a campaign to establish a commission to help lawmkers wend their way through a process to get federal lands transferred to the state.
Deseret News; Sept. 20

President Obama to designate Colorado's Chimney Rock a national monument
Bipartisan efforts to get legislation passed to protect Chimney Rock in southwestern Colorado have failed to make it through Congress, so on Friday, President Barack Obama will designate the 4,726-acre portion of the San Juan National Forest a national monument.
Denver Post; Sept. 20

Study finds rural subdivisions cost Wyoming county
The Sonoran Institute's report issued last week, "Leaping the Budget Gap: Land Use and Fiscal Planning in Natrona County, Wyoming," found that tax revenues from rural subdivisions never cover the cost of road and bridge infrastructure and fire and law enforcement protection, and as those subdivisions sprawl farther away from population centers, the gap between revenues and costs widen.; Sept. 17

Wildfire in SW Montana 40 percent contained
Wednesday's weather allowed crews on the 5,021-acre Sawtooth Fire burning west of Hamilton in Montana's Bitterroot Valley to gain some ground on containment, and north of Missoula, none of the three wildfires on the Flathead Indian Reservation grew much. Editor's note: Contains information about wildfires burning in Idaho and Washington, which are adding to the smoke in Montana's skies.
Missoulian; Sept. 20

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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