Friday, January 24, 2014

Rockies Today, Jan. 24

Posted By on Fri, Jan 24, 2014 at 11:55 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Railroad industry agrees to use toxic-chemical rules for crude oil
The CEO of Union Pacific Railroad said that the industry has agreed to use the same rules for transporting toxic chemicals to route trains carrying crude oil.
Great Falls Tribune (AP); Jan. 24

Analysis finds Montana a speed bump on Internet highway
Software developed by a company that started in Kalispell allows users to evaluate Internet download speeds, and a recent national survey found that the average download speed in Montana is 7.3 megabits per second (Mbps), less than half the national average of 18.2 megabits per second, a situation CenturyLink is working to rectify as the company received $1.9 million in federal funding to expand the reach of broadband service to rural areas of the state.
Flathead Beacon; Jan. 24

Experts question use of Colorado River water to grow alfalfa to export
Some of the water farmers in Utah, Arizona and California pull from the Colorado River Basin is used to grow alfalfa, which is then exported to Asia, Japan and the United Arab Emirates, and Robert Glennon, a water policy expert at the University of Arizona, said that perhaps there is a better way to put those water resources to work.
National Geographic; Jan. 23

Colorado legislators favor milder approach to wildfire prevention
The Waldo Canyon Wildfire burned more than 350 homes in Colorado Springs in 2012, and the Black Forest Fire in 2013 burned more than 500 homes, prompting Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper to appoint a task force which recommended measures such as new building codes for homes built in the forest, imposing a fee on forest property and requiring homeowners to reduce fuels on their property, but on Thursday, when a slate of bills aimed at reducing wildfire risk was announced, none of those measures were on the list.
Durango Herald; Jan. 24

Risk of shipping oil by rail touted as reason to OK Keystone XL pipeline
On Thursday, both the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board and the Transportation Safety Board of Canada urged their respective governments to impose new rules for shipping oil by rail, a move that supporters of TransCanada's proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would move oil from Alberta to Cushing, Okla., jumped on as a reason to get the pipeline approved.
Deseret News (AP); Jan. 24

TransCanada puts southern leg of Keystone pipeline online
Alberta-based TransCanada announced that the stretch of the Keystone XL pipeline between Cushing, Okla., and the Texas Gulf Coast is now carrying crude, while the proposed northern stretch of the pipeline, which would run from Alberta to Cushing remains stalled amid controversy.
Deseret News; Jan. 23

Federal labor report says Idaho added 3,800 jobs in December
Preliminary numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for the month of December found that Idaho added 3,800 jobs that month, the largest single-month increase in two decades, with unemployment rates in 27 counties falling below 6 percent, with Oneida County's 2.9 jobless rate the lowest in the state, while Clearwater County's 11 percent unemployment rate remained the highest.
Idaho Statesman; Jan. 24

Wyoming Business Council OKs $13M for Colorado magazine maker
The Wyoming Business Council voted unanimously on Thursday to approve $13 million in incentives for Magpul, the Colorado gun magazine maker, to relocate production, distribution and shipping operations to Cheyenne, and now the matter moves to the State Land and Investment Board, which is scheduled to meet Feb. 6.
Casper Star-Tribune (AP); Jan. 24

Conservation easement protects wildlife corridor in W. Montana
A deal between the Five Valleys Land Trust and the Idaho owners of the Grasslands on the Moiese Valley Ranch in the Mission Valley will keep development off nearly 2,300 acres on a critical wildlife corridor in western Montana, and allow the dairy operation, which was recently restarted on the land, to grow.
Missoulian; Jan. 24

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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