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Charlie Russell Jake Hoover Place In The Big Belt Mountains
Photo courtesy of Rick and Susie Graetz
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
produced daily by Shellie Nelson

Editor's Notes...

West map In the Rockies today, a spill of industrial soap components closes a stretch of a Montana river, while a Utah jury finds the state, two cities, a county and an agency responsible in the 2010 drowning deaths of two kayakers on the Jordan River.

A tractor-trailer crashed along the Blackfoot River in western Montana spilling some of the product containing aluminum sulphate and diethanolamine into the river, and prompting the state Fish, Wildlife and Parks to close a 36-mile of the Blackfoot and Clark Fork rivers for six or so hours.

In Utah, a jury awarded the family of two kayakers who died after being swept over a concrete spillway in the Jordan River in 2010.

The jury apportioned fault for the deaths among the state, the state Transportation Department, two cities and Salt Lake County.

Also in the news, Peabody Energy's western coal mines provided the positive news in the St. Louis-based company's report on its second quarter, where the company posted a $72-million loss, primarily due to a weak market in Australia; and a U.S. company signs a deal with an Alberta biogas company to build three anaerobic digesters on the East Coast to turn restaurant waste into electricity.

Montana Public Radio will broadcast Mountain West Voices at 7:30 tonight.

This evening's program offers the dramatic story of the life of a Montana botanist, and of the power of generosity and love to overcome really difficult circumstances.

There's also some plant biology and Irish music thrown in for good measure.

If you miss tonight's broadcast on the radio, you can listen online via the Mountain West Voices website.

And just a reminder for our readers in western Montana, Michael Leach will read from his book "Grizzlies on my Mind," at 7 p.m. at Fact & Fiction at 220 N. Higgins in Missoula.

Rockies today

Truck crash spill soap compound into W. Montana river
A tractor-trailer carrying an industrial soap-making product containing aluminum sulphate and diethanolamine crashed Tuesday morning along the Blackfoot River in Western Montana, sending the compound into the river, and closing a 36-mile stretch of the Blackfoot and Clark Fork rivers for nearly seven hours, until it was determined that the fluids had dissipated in the rivers' waters and no longer presented a hazard.
Missoulian; July 23

Peabody Energy reports coal production up at Wyoming, western mines
St. Louis-based Peabody Energy posted a $72-million loss for the second quarter of this year, and while shipments of coal from its mines in the Western United States, including Wyoming were up, delivery was hampered by rail congestion, and company officials said a weak market in Australia was primarily responsible for the quarter's loss.
Casper Star-Tribune; July 23

Utah jury finds cities, state, liable for Jordan River kayakers' deaths
A Utah jury awarded $2.4 million to the family of two kayakers who drowned in n 2010 after they were pulled into the current created by a constructed drop-off in the Jordan River, apportioning 50 percent of the fault on Murray City, which owned the bridge and the spillway; 15 percent to the state Department of Transportation, which designed the spillway; 10 percent to Utah, which owns the river; 10 percent to Salt Lake County, which allegedly had promised to put structures in place to keep boaters out of the spillway, but never did; and 5 percent to West Jordan City for not removing vegetation from signs warning of the hazard.
Salt Lake Tribune; July 23

Four-day BioBlitz on bats planned in B.C. river valley
Concerns that the Flathead River Valley in southeastern British Columbia may be an entry point for the fatal whitenose syndrome that has killed millions of bats in Eastern Canada and the United States is the driving force for the four-day BioBlitz that begins Thursday in that river valley to build on data collected last year on bat species in the valley.
Calgary Herald; July 23

Health care professionals urge creation of Canyonlands monument in Utah
Adding their voices to those of environmental groups, outdoor retailers and others who want to protect 1.8 million acres of land around Canyonlands National Park as a national monument, health care professionals and nonprofits sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to designate the area as a national monument, and cited the physical, mental and emotional health benefits of doing so.
Salt Lake Tribune; July 23

Deal sends made-in-Alberta biogas technology to U.S.
Technology developed by Alberta-based Himark Biogas that uses anaerobic digesters to turn manure and food waste into a gas that can be used to generate electricity will be put to use in three facilities owned by NEO Energy in the Eastern U.S. to generate electricity and make fertilizer from food waste from supermarkets and restaurants.
Edmonton Journal; July 23

Protesters arrested at Utah tar sands mine site quickly make bail
Seven of the 21 protesters arrested Monday at the U.S. Oil Sands tar sands mine construction site in Uintah County were from Salt Lake City, with the remainder from around the U.S. who participated in the weeklong peaceful demonstration called Climate Justice Summer Camp in Utah.
Salt Lake Tribune; July 23


Another Idaho reservoir shuts down releases for irrigation
The Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir will stop releasing water for irrigators this week, more than a month earlier than such releases ended last year, and the lack of rainfall in that area of southern Idaho where just 8 inches of rain has fallen since Oct. 1 was cited for the reason the releases would end.
Twin Falls Times-News; July 23

Idaho gives Twin Falls $500K for wastewater work for Clif Bar bakery
Twin Falls has seen a number of new economic development projects in recent years, and that development was cited by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter in a press release announcing that the city would get a $500,000 Idaho Community Development Block Grant to help pay for a wastewater lift station needed for a new Clif Bar bakery that is coming to the community.
Twin Falls Times-News; July 23


Canadian railroads' quarterly reports show profit from pipeline bottleneck
Both the Canadian Pacific Railway and Canadian National Railway reported record second-quarter profits last week, due in part to the dramatic increase in the amount of crude oil hauled on those rail lines. A column by Stephen Ewart.
Calgary Herald; July 23

Beyond the region

President Obama declares wildfire emergency in Washington state
On Tuesday, President Obama visited Washington state and issued a state of emergency declaration for the state, where wildfires have scorched hundreds of thousands of acres over the past two weeks.
Portland Oregonian (AP); July 23

Crews handle most of lightning-sparked wildfires in Oregon, Washington
Lightning-packed storms on Monday sparked 25 new fires in Oregon and eight in Washington, although crews quickly handled most of them. This article provides updates on the 19 large, uncontained wildfires that are still burning in those states.
Portland Oregonian; July 23

Geothermal industry gains ground around the world
Using heat from deep beneath the Earth's surface to generate power is making slow and steady progress, with the U.S. leading the world in developing its geothermal resources, and with the upfront costs of finding and tapping into geothermal resources representing more than half of what's needed to build a geothermal power plant, companies are finding former oil and gas wells provide a good avenue to the resource.
New York Times; July 23

Appeals courts split on subsidies for Affordable Care Act premiums
On Tuesday, a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, on a 2-1 decision, struck down an Internal Revenue Service rule that allows the payment of premium subsidies for those who signed up for health care on federal exchanges, and within hours of that decision, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit unanimously agreed that the rule should stand.
New York Times; July 23

  • Montana insurance chief says federal rulings won't change premiums
    After two conflicting decisions on subsidies for federal health care exchange premiums were handed down by federal appeals court panels on Tuesday, Montana State Auditor Monica Lindeen said that the subsidies paid to 31,500 Montanans won't change for now.
    Helena Independent Record (Lee State Bureau); July 23

Mountain West News is a program of the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West
at The University of Montana.
"O ur main goal is to understand what species we have on the landscape right now. Basically it's just establishing some baseline data. We want to understand the Flathead because it might be a gateway for white-nose to get into the province."

Cori Lausen, a research biologist and bat specialist with the Wildlife Conservation Society Canada, discussing the reason for the four-day BioBlitz in British Columbia's Flathead River Valley to gather information on bat species.
- Calgary Herald

On The Bookshelf
Barbara Theroux of Fact & Fiction reviews Grizzlies on my mind


Mountain West Perspectives
New report highlights opportunities in the Colorado River Basin
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

at the

The University of Montana