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Como Peak in the Bitterroot River
Photo courtesy of Rick and Susie Graetz
Monday, Sept. 22, 2014
produced daily by Shellie Nelson

Editor's Notes...

West map In the Rockies today, the U.S. Forest Service may be facing a class action, as a number of women wildland firefighters are alleging abuse and harassment on the firelines.

Seven female firefighters who served in California filed the complaint, alleging that they were fired after bringing the problem to the attention of their superiors.

Also in the news, in Montana, Gov. Steve Bullock rolls out a proposal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the state and Missoula learns that its water utility has been sold by the Carlyle Group to a Canadian water utility.

In Idaho, the state continues to rank at or near the bottom in the nation in median wages paid to individuals, women and men, and another study finds 60 to 70 percent of jobs in the state don't pay a living wage.

Rockies today

Women wildland firefighters allege abuse on the firelines
A group of past and current wildland firefighters have filed a complaint against the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture alleging that they suffered abuse and sexual harassment on the firelines and that top officials knew what was happening and did nothing about it.
New York Times; Sept. 22

Carlyle Group sells Montana city's water utility to Canadian company
The news Friday that Canada-based Algonquin Power and Utilities Corp. had purchased the water company for Missoula from Carlyle Group took officials of the Montana city by surprise, given the city's ongoing lawsuit to wrest ownership of the utility away from the private investment firm.
Missoulian; Sept. 22

Montana governor lays out plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
Last week, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock released a list of options the state could adopt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which could help the state attain the 21 percent reduction in such emissions set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in its proposed plan to reduce emissions across the nation.
Flathead Beacon; Sept. 19

Study finds 60 to 70 percent of jobs in Idaho don't pay a living wage
The latest study from the Alliance for a Just Society found that, in 2013, between 60 and 70 percent of Idaho jobs don't pay the $14.57 hourly wage a single person would need to cover living expenses, and for a single adult with two children, few jobs pay the $25.12 hourly wage needed to cover those living expenses.
Twin Falls Times-News; Sept. 21

  • U.S. median wage rankings find Idaho dead last in 2 categories
    The Census Bureau's American Community Survey said the $21,908 median wage earned by women in Idaho in 2013 ranked the state 51st in the nation, behind all other states and Washington, D.C., and the median age for individual wage earners in the state, $27,932, was also the lowest in the nation, although the median wage earned by men, $33,623, was 48th in the nation.
    Idaho Statesman (AP); Sept. 21

Yellowstone NP official says bison plan to be released mid-2015
Yellowstone National Park officials said a decision on a project to relocate bison that have been culled from herds within the park and kept in quarantine to ascertain they are disease free will be made by the middle of next year, and in June, the Interior Department identified 20 parcels of public lands in 10 states where the bison could be transferred.
Great Falls Tribune (AP); Sept. 21

FDA backs off some rules for brewers' resale of spent grain to farmers
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration released new rules on how craft beer brewers can sell or give away the spent grains used in the growing process, which now allow brewers who comply with the agency's rules for processing foods for humans need not comply with the new rules for processing of animal foods.
Boulder Daily Camera (Longmont Times-Call); Sept. 22

Blog identifies dozens of million-dollar unoccupied homes in Vancouver, B.C.
Concerned residents of Vancouver's west side neighborhoods said the dozens of vacant homes in the British Columbia city represent a threat to the neighborhoods, and for that reason they are identifying the homes on the blog Beautiful Empty Homes of Vancouver, with the intent of convincing local officials to pass a tax on the vacant properties punitive enough to convince the absent property owners to either sell or rent the property or move in.
Vancouver Sun; Sept. 22


Forecasters predict no relief in sight for drought-stricken Western states
Experts forecast very little precipitation in drought-plagued areas of western Utah, nearly all of Nevada and most of California through the end of this year.
Wall Street Journal (AP); Sept. 22

Wyoming resident: Hogadon's snow-making work silted up water system
Ben Brown, who lives a mile and a half downstream of the pond Hogadon Ski Area uses for water to make snow, said work done by the City of Casper to install a liner on the pond silted up his water system to the point it is unusable, a claim the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality is investigating.
Casper Star-Tribune; Sept. 21


Idaho ranchers deserve kudos for work to restore salmon in Lemhi River
Since 1990, ranchers through whose lands the Lemhi River in Idaho passes have been cooperating with local, state and federal agencies to take steps to restore the waters of the river, and the salmon that swim in those waters, and on Sept. 17, the Idaho Cattle Association sponsored a tour of the ranches to show the public the on-the-ground measures taken.
Idaho Statesman; Sept. 21

Push to transfer federal lands to Montana needs to come to an end
Montanans enjoy a wide array of benefits from the 25 million or so acres of federal lands within the state, and although all can agree that some of those lands could be better managed, the misguided campaign to transfer ownership of those lands to the state should end now.
Helena Independent Record; Sept. 22

Beyond the region

Hundreds of thousands join climate change march in New York City
In advance of this week's meeting of international leaders on climate change at the United Nations, an estimated 311,000 people marched through the streets of New York City, demanding action to address the growing threat of climate change.
New York Times; Sept. 22

  • Alberta city reports hundreds attend climate change march
    On Sunday, there were Climate Change Marches held in more than 3,000 communities in 150 countries around the world, including one in Calgary, where an estimated 400 people marched in the Alberta city.
    Calgary Herald; Sept. 22

Mountain West News is a program of the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West
at The University of Montana.
"W e feel like production agriculture can coexist with an endangered species, and not only that, it can enhance the habitat for them."

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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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