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Rocky Mountain Front
Photo courtesy of Rick and Susie Graetz
Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012
produced daily by Shellie Nelson

Editor's Notes...

West map In the Rockies today, an Idaho company's solar-powered products kept the lights on at a New Jersey marina during and after Hurricane Sandy.

The success of Boise-based Inovus Solar's SmartPole, which uses flexible solar panels wrapped around the pole to power street lights, during Hurricane Sandy provides an important lesson in creating a more resilient power grid.

In Montana, a Wisconsin group has found a local atheist to join its fight against a statue of Jesus that has sat along a ski slope on Big Mountain for decades.

The addition of a local plaintiff addresses the motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed by the Knights of Columbus because the Freedom From Religion Foundation lacked standing to bring the case because it could not name an individual harmed by the statue's presence, and keeps the lawsuit headed for trial next year.

Also in the news, Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead released 73 initiatives, all of which could be the building blocks of the state's energy policy, and the federal Environmental Protection Agency accepts legislation passed by the 2011 Montana Legislature that gives the state 20 years to phase in some water-quality measures.

Rockies today

Hurricane Sandy no match for Idaho company's solar lights
While Hurricane Sandy ravaged the electrical grid on the East Coast, the solar-powered light system installed by Boise's Inovus Solar at a marina around New Jersey’s Lake Hopatcong kept on shining, as did other solar systems installed by the Idaho company throughout the East Coast.
Idaho Statesman; Nov. 29

Federal judge rejects settlement over dirt bikes on trails in Colorado NF
The settlement reached by the Center for Biological Diversity and the U.S. Forest Service in a lawsuit filed by the environmental group that sought to have dirt bikes banned on five trails in the Bear Creek Drainage in the Pike National Forest was rejected Monday by a federal judge, keeping trails 665, 668, 701 and 720 and part of trail 667 open to dirt bikes.
Colorado Springs Gazette; Nov. 29

Alberta oilsands touted as good investment at Edmonton conference
At the Sequeira Energy Services Symposium in Edmonton Wednesday, attendees heard that foreign investors are lining up to invest in Alberta's oilsands operations and that confidence is high in the province that the Keystone XL pipeline will be built.
Edmonton Journal; Nov. 29

Local atheist allows lawsuit over skihill Jesus statue in Montana to proceed
The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation revised its complaint against the U.S. Forest Service battling the renewal of a permit for a statue of Jesus on a ski slope on Montana's Big Mountain to include a local skier who is an atheist and who considers the religious statue offensive.
Missoulian; Nov. 29

Wyoming governor releases preliminary draft of energy policy
The public is now invited to review and comment on the 73 initiatives released by Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead that are proposed to become the state's energy policy.
Casper Star-Tribune; Nov. 29

EPA accepts Montana's phased-in approach on addressing water quality
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has accepted the guidelines for addressing water quality issues passed by the Montana Legislature in 2011.
Billings Gazette; Nov. 29

Wyoming senator's bill would make carbon-capture tax credit process easier
Responding to industry officials' complaints that the process for getting tax credits for capturing carbon dioxide is hard to navigate, Wyoming U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi is co-sponsoring legislation with senators from North Dakota and West Virginia to make the process more straightforward.
Casper Star-Tribune; Nov. 29


Congress could give nation a little fiscal certainty before Christmas
From all indications, corporations and individuals across the nation are already reacting to what Congress may--or may not--do to address the looming "fiscal cliff," so federal lawmakers could work quickly to come to a resolution to pull the country away from that cliff, although given the partisan vote on Montana U.S. Sen. Jon Tester's Sportsmen's Act of 2012, it appears there will be no early Christmas gift for any of us.
Billings Gazette; Nov. 29

Book on Idaho wildflowers worth carrying along
A. Scott Earle's "Idaho Mountain Wildflowers: A Photographic Compendium" is a pound and a half of photographs and academic accuracy about the Gem State's flora.
Twin Falls Times-News; Nov. 29

Beyond the region

Groups sues USFWS to speed up gray wolf reintroduction in N.M., Ariz.
Tucson-based The Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Washington, D.C., against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Interior Department challenging the agency's efforts to reintroduce gray wolves in Arizona and New Mexico.
Arizona Republic; Nov. 29

Mountain West News is a program of the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West
at The University of Montana.
"T he solar street lights kept our marina lit when all other grid-connected lights were out."

Wallace Chang, an engineer with the Morris County Parks Department in New Jersey, praising Idaho-based Inovus Solar's SmartPole and solar-powered street lights which kept operating during and after Hurricane Sandy.
- Idaho Statesman

On The Bookshelf
Barbara Theroux provides a preview of coming book attractions for 2016


Mountain West Perspectives
The TransPacific Partnership could affect Rocky Mountain States' local measures


A Look Ahead

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