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Photo courtesy of Rick and Susie Graetz
Friday, Oct. 31, 2014
produced daily by Shellie Nelson

Editor's Notes...

West map In the Rockies today, a report on Montana's water quality, an oilsands project in Alberta moves forward, and congressional candidates in Colorado hold a debate in Spanish.

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality completed its biennial report required by the Clean Water Act on the water quality in the state, and found that 70 percent of those waters are "impaired."

In Alberta, an oilsands project first proposed two and a half years ago, got approved by the province, with final approval now needed from the Alberta Energy Regulator before Oklahoma-based Devon Energy and its British partner, BP LLC, can begin work on the thermal project in the northeast region of the province.

And in Colorado, the candidates in the 6th Congressional District Race, Republican incumbent Mike Coffman and his Democratic challenger Andrew Romanoff, met for a debate on Thursday, and conducted that debate entirely in Spanish, which may be a first in the Centennial state.

Denver has a significant number of Latino residents, many of whom live in that congressional district.

Yellowstone Public Radio will broadcast Mountain West Voices at 7:05 a.m. on Sunday.

This weekend broadcast features a portrait of Montana arachnologist and artist Bea Vogel.

Tune in Sunday morning (don't forget to turn back your clocks) at 7:05, or listen online via Mountain West Voices website.

Correction: My summary in Thursday's edition of the Montana Standard's article on the future of the Montana Pole Plant in Butte inaccurately indicated that Montana Department of Environmental Quality presented the four options, which were, instead, put forth by Butte-Silver Bow. I apologize for error.

Rockies today

Montana water quality report finds 70% of waters impaired
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality's 2014 edition of its Water Quality Integrated Report, which is required under the federal Clean Water Act, says that 70 percent of the state's rivers, streams and lakes do not support aquatic life, with excess sediment ranking highest as the reason for water impairment.
Bozeman Daily Chronicle; Oct. 31

Devon Energy's Alberta oilsands project moves closer to approval
Alberta has officially signed off on the 105,000-barrel-per-day thermal oilsands project in the northeastern area of the province proposed by Oklahoma-based Devon Energy and British company BP LLC, and if the project gets a final OK from the Alberta Energy Regulator, work could begin next year.
Calgary Herald; Oct. 31

Lobbyist urges energy execs in Colo. to embrace hard-nosed politics
At a speech in June before an audience of oil and gas company executives, Richard Berman, the founder and chief executive of the Washington-based Berman & Company consulting firm, urged them to donate millions to the firm's Big Green Radicals, a marketing campaign to marginalize environmental groups, but one energy company executive was so offended by Berman's touting of his hard-core tactics he recorded the speech and gave it to the New York Times.
New York Times; Oct. 31

Montana senator targets Indian health care, education
U.S. Sen. Jon Tester spent his time as chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs visiting reservations around the nation, including in his home state of Montana, and he said he intends to sponsor legislation to streamline tribes' application process for education funding and to work to improve access to health care for tribal members as many clinics in Indian Country are understaffed and underfunded.
Indian Country Today; Oct. 31

Tax Foundation ranks Montana sixth in U.S. for business climate
The lack of a major tax earned Montana a sixth place ranking in the Tax Foundation's 2015 State Business Tax Climate Index, with Wyoming, South Dakota, Nevada, Alaska and Florida ranking above the Big Sky State.
Missoulian; Oct. 30

Colorado congressional candidates debate immigration in Spanish
U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman and his Democratic challenger Andrew Romanoff squared off Thursday night in Colorado's first known debate conducted in Spanish, with immigration the top issue under debate.
Denver Post; Oct. 31

Real estate sales in Colorado's Pitkin County up 22% this year
A report released this week by Land Title Guarantee Co. said that, as of the end of August, there were $917.07 million in real estate sales in Colorado's Pitkin County, up 22.5 percent from the $750.10 million during the same eight months of 2013.
Aspen Times; Oct. 31

KinderMorgan seeks injunction to stop B.C. protesters
The National Energy Board has already issued an order that prohibits the City of Burnaby from hindering survey work done by KinderMorgan crews working on a proposed route for the company's TransMountain pipeline project, and after survey crews encountered protesters on Wednesday, the company has named names, and sued individuals in an action seeking an injunction against citizen protesters.
Vancouver Sun; Oct. 31


Energy, environment now the issues dividing Canada
There appears to be little common ground between Canada's quest to become an energy superpower under Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Canadians led by the likes of Neil Young and Leonardo DiCaprio, who oppose anything Harper, and the two factions have drawn their battle lines over the pipelines needed to move Canadian oil to foreign markets. A column by Stephen Ewart.
Calgary Herald; Oct. 31

Beyond the region

Meeting on report on oil train measures in Washington state draws 750
On Thursday, a preliminary study prepared by the Washington State Department of Ecology on the increase of oil train traffic through the state was released for review, and more than 750 people attended the meeting to provide their feedback, with most in attendance speaking in opposition to the forecast increase in oil trains.
Seattle Times; Oct. 31

Mountain West News is a program of the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West
at The University of Montana.
"P eople always ask me one question all the time: ‘How do I know that I won’t be found out as a supporter of what you’re doing?’ We run all of this stuff through nonprofit organizations that are insulated from having to disclose donors. There is total anonymity. People don't know who supports us."

Richard Berman, the founder and chief executive of the Washington-based Berman & Company consulting firm, during a speech at Western Energy Alliance's 2014 annual meeting, on his firm's ability to keep donations from supporters anonymous.
- New York Times

On The Bookshelf
Barbara Theroux reviews Dan O'Brien's "Wild Idea: Buffalo & Family in a Difficult Land"


Mountain West Perspectives
Montana releases draft statewide water management plan


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