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Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015
produced daily by Shellie Nelson

Editor's Notes...

West map In the Rockies today, a lineup of articles from the Rocky Mountain West that provides an example of the work we do to keep subscribers informed about the region.

Whether the news covers pending bills before Congress, like Wyoming U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis' "Yellowstone and Grand Teton Paddling Act," or Montana U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke's "Native American Energy Act," we help keep readers abreast of what's happening in Washington, D.C. that will affect life in the West.

We also follow what's happening in the states, such as Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper's climate-change plan or his task force's work to give local communities more input on oil and gas operations within their boundaries.

Of late, we've been following how the global oil market is affecting the region, states' budgets and ongoing energy operations, like Utah's nascent oil-shale work.

We want to continue to bring our daily roundup to you, but we need the support of readers like you.

So please consider making a tax-deductible donation today, either online through our secure server, or through the mail, using this printer-friendly form.

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Rockies today

Wyoming U.S. Rep. Lummis tweaks bill to open parks' waters to paddlers
The U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources held a markup session today on U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis' revised "Yellowstone and Grand Teton Paddling Act," which was amended by the Wyoming Republican to specifically address what stretches of water in the two national parks would be open to hand-propelled watercraft, but also eliminates the need for an extensive environmental assessment of allowing paddlers on those waters.
Jackson Hole Daily; Oct. 8

Montana congressman supports ending oil-export ban
U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke said he is optimistic that the U.S. House will pass a measure to end the 40-year ban on exporting crude oil on Friday, but his Montana colleague, Sen. Jon Tester, said he does not believe the measure adequately addresses all the issues it needs to and said he does not support it as drafted. The U.S. House is expected to vote today on Rep. Zinke's Native American Energy Act, which exempts mining and drilling operations on tribal lands from some federal regulations.
Billings Gazette; Oct. 8

Wyoming power plant to get laboratory to study carbon-dioxide capture
Basin Electric's Dry Fork coal-fired power plant in Wyoming near Gillette has been selected to have a laboratory built on premises to capture the carbon dioxide emitted from the plant and to find uses for that greenhouse gas.
Casper Star-Tribune (AP); Oct. 8

Colorado governor's climate change plan draws criticism from all corners
On Wednesday, Colorado Gov. John Hicklenlooper released his 93-page plan on addressing climate change in the Centennial State, which outlines what the state can do in seven key areas: prepare to deal with drought; help key agencies develop plans to bring emissions in line with federal limits; ensure the state can meet its renewable-energy standards; encourage development of fuel-efficiency technologies for motor vehicles; and partner with the federal government to encourage water-efficient agricultural practices.
Denver Post; Oct. 8

Oil market downsizes, slows oil-shale projects in Utah
There are now three major players in Utah's Uinta Basin, seeking to wring the oil out of its rocky bed, with the fourth, Australia-based Ambre Energy, selling its assets to Red Leaf Resources, which is the closest to reaching commercial-scale production, but even that company is taking a breather, due to low oil prices.
Salt Lake Tribune; Oct. 8

Alberta-based Encana sells Colorado assets to private-equity group
Encana Corp. announced that it was selling all of its natural gas and oil asset in the Denver-Julesburg Basin, which includes more than 1,600 wells on more than 51,000 acres in Colorado, to the Denver-based Broe Group and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, with the partners planning to create a separate stand-alone company to manage the assets.
Denver Post; Oct. 8

Colorado releases proposals to give locals input on oil, gas operations
The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission released proposed rules on Tuesday to implement the recommendations of the governor's task force to give local governments more say on oil and gas operations within their boundaries, and environmental and community groups quickly responded by saying the rules don't go far enough to protect residents from operations near schools and homes.
Denver Post; Oct. 8

National Renewable Energy Laboratory to cut Colorado workforce
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden announced that it had laid off 15 solar-energy researchers involved in long-term research projects at the Colorado laboratory and that the workforce would be reduced by an additional 50 to 60 jobs via buyouts, as the facility refocuses its research to deal with federal funding cuts.
Denver Post; Oct. 8

Alberta agency's map on airborne pollutants shows Edmonton's a hot spot
As part of the Joint Oilsands Monitoring initiative, data collected by the Alberta Environmental Monitoring Reporting and Evaluation Agency was used to create a map showing pollutants that shows, among other things, a plume of nitrogen dioxide pollution stretching from the southeast to north in Alberta above Edmonton.
Calgary Herald (Edmonton Journal); Oct. 8

Phosphate ponds in Utah desert captured in aerial photograph
Photographer Alexander Heilner said he is obsessed with the collision of man-made and natural structures, and his aerial photograph of evaporation ponds of the Intrepid potash mine in Utah near Moab is an example of his work.; Oct. 8

Boone & Crockett launches nationwide campaign to thwart poaching
The Montana-based hunting and conservation organization, the Boone & Crockett Club, is partnering with American sporting optics company Leupold & Stevens for a nationwide "Poach and Pay" campaign to research poaching incidents and penalties with a goal of increasing those penalties to a level to curb the rise of illegal taking of wildlife. Vickie Edwards, a former Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks wildlife biologist, who is now a with a measurement specialist with Boone and Crockett, will lead the campaign.
Missoulian; Oct. 8

Beyond the region

California climate-change bill pushes utilities to offer car-charging stations
On Wednesday, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a package of climate change bills into law focused on boosting the use of renewable energy to 50 percent by 2030, which includes a call to utilities to build more car-charging stations to move motorists from the pump to the plug.
Twin Falls Times-News (AP); Oct. 8

Mountain West News is a program of the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West
at The University of Montana.
"S everal concerns were raised about the burden on the Park Service of studying all of the rivers and streams in the park for suitability for paddling. Rep. Lummis’ amendment would significantly alleviate this burden by requiring a rulemaking to allow paddling on specific rivers and streams composing roughly 10 percent of the river and stream miles in the park."

Joe Spiering, U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis' press secretary, in an email explaining the Wyoming representative's amendment to her "Yellowstone and Grand Teton Paddling Act,” which was marked up by the House Committee on Natural Resources today.
- Jackson Hole Daily

On The Bookshelf

Mountain West Perspectives
Montana's two-year colleges revamp education to meet changing workplace demands


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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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