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Photo courtesy of Rick and Susie Graetz
Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014
produced daily by Shellie Nelson

Editor's Notes...

West map Due to a family emergency, Mountain West News won't publish for the remainder of this week.

Our next edition will publish Tuesday, Sept. 2.

In the Rockies today, Idaho finishes its adjudication of all 158,000 water rights in the state, joining Wyoming, Colorado and Washington state, which have also completed the process.

A Colorado company will soon deploy technology to remote oilfields in North Dakota that will capture natural gas now flared off, separate, liquefy, tank and ship the propane, butane and pentane to market, and use the methane in lieu of diesel fuel on site.

In Utah, the state is taking a hard look at holding ponds where wastewater from oil and gas operations are held and evaporated after the operator of the largest such facility in the state was found to have grossly underestimated the amount of emissions from its facility.

Also in the news, tribes are providing habitat for native animals, including bison and the swift fox; Colorado U.S. Rep. Jared Polis proposes a new wilderness bill; and British Columbia provides details on 49 dangerous incidents at tailings ponds in the province.

Rockies today

Idaho completes cataloguing of water rights
On Monday, Idaho officials gathered to acknowledge the completion of adjudication of the 158,000 water rights in the state, putting Idaho in the ranks of Colorado, Washington and Wyoming, where adjudication is also complete, while such efforts in Arizona, Montana, New Mexico and Oregon tumble over such obstacles as lack of funding.
Twin Falls Times-News; Aug. 26

Utah reviewing emissions from oil, gas wastewater ponds
Utah fined Danish Flats Environmental Services $50,000 for underestimating for years the amount of emissions escaping its oil and gas wastewater containment facility in Utah's Grand County, which is the largest of the 15 operating in the Uintah Basin, and now the state is reviewing the other eight that fall under its authority to see if the operators' claims about the volume of emissions allow them to continue to operate under a de minimis permit.
Salt Lake Tribune; Aug. 25

Colorado company develops unit to capture flared natural gas
Natural gas that is a byproduct of drilling operations that is now flared off due to a lack of pipelines to carry the gas from remote oilfields, with an estimated $39 million potential revenue from natural gas burned off at drilling operations in Colorado alone since 2009, but Lakewood-based Pioneer Energy helped design a Mobile Alkane Gas Separator to capture the flared gas, and the first units are headed to North Dakota in a couple of weeks.
Denver Post; Aug. 26

B.C. releases details on 'dangerous occurrences' at tailings ponds
Ten days after British Columbia officials declined to issue details about dangerous occurrences at tailings ponds across the Canadian province, details were released about 49 such occurrences in response to the Vancouver Sun's request for such information, with most of the occurrences related to equipment crashes into the ponds, although there was one short-lived breach of a dike at a Craigmont copper mine near Merritt in 2002, and sinkholes at Northgate Gold’s Kemess South gold and copper mine were also reported that year.
Vancouver Sun; Aug. 26

Tribal lands in Montana, other states provide haven for rare native animals
The unplowed, native prairie lands of tribes in Montana, the Dakotas and Nebraska provide the habitat needed for bison, swift fox and black-footed ferrets, and a new generation of tribal leaders are coming home to help those species survive.
New York Times; Aug. 26

Colorado congressman proposes new wilderness bill
U.S. Rep. Jared Polis' Rocky Mountain Recreation and Wilderness Preservation Act doesn't have the reach of the Hidden Gems Wilderness Proposal that prompted spirited debate in Congress between 2006 and 2010, as the new proposal limits the land protected to 60,000 acres in Summit and eastern Eagle counties within the Colorado congressman's district.
Aspen Times; Aug. 26

BLM puts wild horse roundup in S. Wyoming on hold
After a lawsuit was filed by a wild horse advocacy group, the Bureau of Land Management delayed a wild horse roundup planned to begin Sept. 1 in the Great Divide Basin, Adobe Town and Salt Wells Creek herd management areas in Wyoming.
Casper Star-Tribune; Aug. 24


Tests of Idaho water wells find 16% have elevated levels of nitrates
Recent tests of 4,244 water wells across Idaho found that 661 of those had nitrate levels higher than the 10.0 ppm threshold for federal health standards, and the state's Departments of Environmental Quality and Agriculture said that the high levels could be attributable to leaking septic systems and lawn and garden fertilizers, as well as the state's agriculture and dairy industries.
Twin Falls Times-News; Aug. 25


Federal, state land agencies should treat drones as air trash
The National Park Service's decision to ban the use of drones is a step in the right direction, given the problems the unmanned aircraft have already caused, and other federal and state lands agencies should follow suit.
Idaho Mountain Express (Sun Valley); Aug. 22

Utah must stop believing polluters are telling the truth
Given the debacle with Danish Flats Environmental Services, where the Colorado company denied that emissions from its wastewater holding ponds in Utah's Grant County were exceeding allowable limits, and the state's decision to issue a minimal fine when it was discovered that the ponds were exceeding those limits and to allow the facility to continue in operation, Utah must embrace Ronald Reagan's policy of "Trust, but Verify," and shorten it to just verify.
Salt Lake Tribune; Aug. 26

Beyond the region

One of 4 wolves ordered killed in Washington state shot by hunter
The State of Washington authorized the removal of four wolves from the Huckleberry Pack for killing 22 sheep recently in Stevens County, and on Saturday evening, a hunter hired by the state killed one.
Twin Falls Times-News (AP); Aug. 26

Aftershocks continue to rattle California after Sunday's destructive tremblor in Napa
The 6.0 magnitude earthquake that rumbled through California's Napa Valley early Sunday morning caused heavy damage to buildings in downtown Napa, including buildings that had been retrofitted to withstand earthquakes, and aftershocks, some as strong as 3.2 in magnitude, continued to rattle the area on Monday.
Los Angeles Times; Aug. 22

Burger King, Tim Hortons to merge, be headquartered in Canada
Miami-based Burger King and Ontario-based Tim Hortons will maintain their respective corporate headquarters after the companies complete their announced $11-billion merger, but for tax purposes, the new global company will be headquartered in Canada.
Calgary Herald (Canadian Press); Aug. 26

Production of natural gas in China lags far behind projections
Difficulties encountered by energy companies trying to tap into China's shale gas resources have forced the Chinese government to half its predictions about production made two years ago, and has the country buying natural gas from Russia and liquefied natural gas from Qatar, Australia and Yemen.
New York Times; Aug. 22

Mountain West News is a program of the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West
at The University of Montana.
"T his is a significant step forward and a significant resource for America. We anticipate exporting these to be used in other parts of the world, especially in less developed areas with little or no infrastructure."

Robert Zubrin, the founder and president of Colorado-based Pioneer Energy, discussing the Mobile Alkane Gas Separator, which can capture and process natural gas now flared off in remote oilfields.
- Denver Post

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New report highlights opportunities in the Colorado River Basin


Mountain West Voices
Hear weekly stories from the Rocky Mountain West as gathered by Clay Scott

Mountain West News is a program of the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West

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The University of Montana