Our archives

Major Funders:
Foundation for Community Vitality
Greater Montana Foundation
Encouraging communications on issues, trends and values of importance to Montanans.
On The Padlock Ranch
Photo courtesy of Rick and Susie Graetz
Thursday, July 2, 2015
produced daily by Shellie Nelson

Editor's Notes...

West map Mountain West News will not publish on Friday, July 3, due to the Fourth of July holiday. Our next daily edition will publish Monday, July 6.

In the Rockies today, as part of its quest to meet conditions of the federal Clean Power Plan, Colorado is struggling to rein in electricity use as its population increases and its nascent marijuana industry ratchets up power demands.

At a meeting with federal Department of Energy officials on Wednesday, state and local officials, along with business leaders sought some guidance on finding more efficient technologies for the marijuana industry.

Colorado and other states may get some help from a free model offered by researchers from the Carnegie Mellon University's Scott Institute for Energy Innovation that allows state and industry officials to input data into Excel spreadsheets to determine different outcomes of decisions on how to meet the EPA's Clean Carbon Plan.

Also in the news, both Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo and Montana Sen. Steve Daines spoke this week in support of changing how to pay for fighting wildfires; Idaho is searching for clues on why dozens of songbirds of different species died near Kuna last week; and a study in Wyoming seeks to determine why the Jackson Elk Herd are sticking close to home in the summer.

Rockies today

States now have model to follow to meet EPA's Clean Carbon Plan
Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University's Scott Institute for Energy Innovation have developed a free model to help states and stakeholders determine how best to meet the requirements of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Carbon Plan.; July 2

Marijuana growers in Colorado spike demand for electricity
Colorado marijuana growers are driving demand for electricity in Denver, putting the Colorado city's pledge to reduce power usage in peril, and Xcel Energy is working with growers to find more efficient alternatives. The issue came up Wednesday at a forum of local officials and businesses, who sought guidance from U.S. Department of Energy officials on how to meet increased demands for power and curb carbon emissions simultaneously.
Denver Post; July 2

Alberta Energy: Increase in inspections linked to more oilsands violations
In its annual report, the Alberta Energy Regulator said that noncompliance with regulations in the province's oilsands country has more than tripled since 2010, but said the higher number is probably due to an increase in inspections at poor performing operations.
Calgary Herald; July 2

Idaho senator believes wildfire funding bill will pass this year
U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo told members of the Twin Falls Times-News staff that he believes that a measure to change how fighting the worst wildfires are funded will pass this year, as it has been folded into the U.S. Senate's funding bill for the Interior Department, although there is a chance that the entire bill could be monkeywrenched if other federal lawmakers are successful in attaching a measure to require more logging on federal lands.
Twin Falls Times-News; July 2

Sen. Daines continues tour of Montana forestry projects, talks reform
Montana U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, who has been touring logging projects in the state this week, got a look at the Frenchtown Face Stewardship project on Wednesday, and at a roundtable discussion in Missoula, Daines talked about the need to change how wildfire fights are funded and discussed fast-tracking collaborative forest projects.
Missoulian; July 2

Idaho asks for public's help to track death of songbirds near Kuna
After dozens of various species of songbirds were found dead and dying near Kuna over the past couple of weeks, Idaho Fish and Game is investigating to see a cause can be determined and is asking the public to report any dead birds they find.
Idaho Statesman; July 1

JBS takes another bite of U.S. meat-packing market with pork buy
Brazilian meatpacker JBS SA is buying Cargill's U.S. based pork business for $1.45 billion. JBS, which operates its headquarters in Greeley, Colorado, has completed more than a dozen acquisitions since 2005. You can take a look at its operations in the U.S., by going here.
Denver Post; July 2

Study tracks changing migration habits of elk in W. Wyoming
In the 1970s and early 1980s, nearly 99 percent of the elk in the Jackson Elk Herd traveled far enough away from their wintering grounds to be labeled "long-distance migrators," but that has changed recently, and the most recent assessment indicates nearly 40 percent of those elk summer close to home, and study of data from 1978 to 1982, 1994 to 2000 and 2006 to 2012 indicate that calf survival rates may have something to do with elk forgoing their longer treks to summer pasture. The results of the study will soon be published in the Journal of Wildlife Management.
Jackson Hole News & Guide; July 2


Corps of Engineers' plan to clean Wyoming groundwater criticized
At a meeting Tuesday night in Cheyenne, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers laid out its plan to address plumes of trichloroethylene from the groundwater at several sites in Laramie County. The TCE, which was used to clean missile sites in the Wyoming county decades ago, is linked to an increased risk of cancer and liver damage. The Corps' proposed $26-million plan would use microorganisms to break down the TCE over a period of 200 years, a plan that some residents and a former state regulator question.
Casper Star-Tribune (Wyoming Tribune Eagle); July 2

'Hoot-owl' fishing restrictions take effect Friday on W. Montana rivers
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials said hoot-owl restrictions, which prohibit fishing between 2 p.m. and midnight, will take effect Friday on the entire reaches of the Blackfoot and Bitterroot rivers, the Clark Fork River from its headwaters to its confluence with the Flathead River, Flint Creek below the Montana Highway 1 bridge near milepost 53, and Silver Bow Creek from Blacktail Creek in Butte to its confluence with Warm Springs Creek. The restrictions are necessary to limit stress on the fish.
Missoulian; July 2

Idaho has 200 watercraft inspection stations open
So far this year, agents staffing watercraft inspection stations in Idaho have examined more than 20,000 boats, rafts, kayaks and other watercraft, determined more than 300 were high-risk and decontaminated those, and found 18 with zebra or quagga mussels.
Twin Falls Times-News; July 2

Beyond the region

Saskatchewan runs out of firefighting funds as thousands evacuated
Not all of the 108 wildfires currently burning in Saskatchewan have crews battling the blazes, and although the Canadian province is out of funds to fight wildfires, crews will remain on blazes that are threatening communities.
Calgary Herald (Canadian Press); July 2

BP, Gulf states reach $18.7-billion settlement on 2010 oil spill
Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas have agreed to settle claims with BP arising out of the 2010 oil spill from the Deep Horizon drilling rig into the Gulf of Mexico for $18.7 billion.
Salt Lake Tribune (AP); July 2

Beijing to shutter last coal-fired power plant next year
The skies over Beijing are clearing as the Chinese city methodically curbs its coal-fired power, with the last of four such plants scheduled to shut down next year, and the decision is part of a wider effort across China to curb its use of coal, which currently produces 66 percent of the country's power.
Christian Science Monitor; July 2

Mountain West News is a program of the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West
at The University of Montana.
"W e want everybody to be vigilant, especially with the holiday weekend coming up. You don't think of carrying bear spray when you're fishing on the Sun River, but I would strongly recommend it for this week."

Mike Martin, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks warden captain in Great Falls, about the agency's warning issued after tracks of a grizzly bear were found along the Sun River near Vaughn.
- Great Falls Tribune

On The Bookshelf
Barbara Theroux of Fact & Fiction reviews Jack Nisbet's "Ancient Places"

A Look Ahead
June 19-Aug.4: National Geographic, University of Montana offer a free, online course for educators on watershed education

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

at the

The University of Montana