Our archives

Major Funders:
Foundation for Community Vitality
Greater Montana Foundation
Encouraging communications on issues, trends and values of importance to Montanans.
Rocky Mountain Front
Photo courtesy of Rick and Susie Graetz
Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012
produced daily by Shellie Nelson

Editor's Notes...

West map In the Rockies today, federal lawmakers take another run at reforming the 1872 mining law.

Arizona U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva and New Mexico U.S. Sen. Tom Udall believe it's time that hard rock miners pay royalties on the gold, silver, uranium and other metals they pull from federal lands, to put them on parity with oil, gas and coal producers.

Udall said such a measure would provide more revenue to the federal government at a time when the cash is needed, and would also provide information on just how much miners are producing.

Also in the news, more radio-collared wolves are killed by hunters, new rules are released on wild horse sales, and a new report tracks the effect of climate change on trout in five western river basins.

Montana Public Radio will broadcast the latest edition of Mountain West Voices at 8:25 p.m.

This evening's broadcast features 14-year-old competitive archer Kaitlyn Galahan, of Alberton.

The Montana teen talks with Clay Scott about the lure of bows and arrows – and about her memories of the man who introduced her to archery – her late father, Jack Galahan.

Tune in at 8:25 p.m. to Montana Public Radio, or listen to the broadcast online via the Mountain West Voices website.

Rockies today

N.M., Arizona lawmakers want hard rock miners to pay royalties
Arizona U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva and New Mexico U.S. Sen. Tom Udall want hard rock mining companies to pay the same 12.5 percent royalties on the gold, uranium and other metals they pull from federal lands that oil, gas and coal companies now pay, and they will introduce a bill in Congress to reform the General Mining Act of 1872, which exempts mining companies from paying such royalties.
Denver Post (AP); Dec. 12

Montana, Idaho biologists co-authors on study of climate change, trout
Clint Muhlfeld, an aquatic ecologist at the U.S. Geological Survey's Glacier National Park field office in Montana, and Daniel Isaak, of the U.S. Forest Service's Rocky Mountain Research Station in Idaho, were among the researchers who studied the climate histories of five river basins in the Rocky Mountain West: the Flathead River, the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the Green River, the Rio Grande and the Boise River, to produce the "The Past as Prelude to the Future for Understanding 21st-Century Climate Effects on Rocky Mountain Trout."
Missoulian; Dec. 12

At climate conference, Colorado governor champions natural gas
At the Colorado Climate Network conference on Tuesday, Gov. John Hickenlooper said that expanding the use of natural gas is the best way for the nation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the short term.
Durango Herald; Dec. 10

Another trade publication hints that PPL Montana's assets are for sale
Clearing Up, a subscription-only trade publication for the energy industry in the Northwest United States, reported last week that PPL Montana has hired UBS to shop its 11 hydroelectric plants and two coal-fired generation plants in Montana.
Missoula Independent; Dec. 12

Groups protest BLM's oilshale plan in Wyoming
The Wyoming-based Biodiversity Conservation Alliance joined Idaho-based Western Watersheds Project and Californians for Western Wilderness to file a formal protest against the Bureau of Land Management's plan to lease more than 700,000 acres of lands in Wyoming, Colorado and Utah for oilshale research and development, because the BLM plan fails to protect sensitive lands and wildlife on the 293,000 acres of those lands that are in Wyoming.
Casper Star-Tribune; Dec. 12

Interior Department releases plan to tighten rules on wild horse sales
After a ProPublica investigation this fall found that a buyer in Colorado had bought 70 percent of the wild horses sold at Bureau of Land Management auctions since 2009, and that he had resold the animals, many of which could not be accounted for, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced new restrictions on the sales of wild horses.
Colorado Springs Gazette; Dec. 10

Snake Valley residents, groups want Utah-Nevada water pact redone
On Tuesday, representatives of The Great Basin Water Network, The Western Wildlife Conservancy, The Salt Lake League of Women Voters, and The Friends of Great Salt Lake delivered a letter to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed by their groups and 14 others, urging him to renegotiate a deal with Nevada to share groundwater from the Snake Valley and four other valleys.
Salt Lake Tribune; Dec. 10

Buffer zones, water testing hot issues at Colorado gas, oil panel meeting
The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission's proposed 350-foot buffer zone for oil and gas operations was protested by the industry and ranchers as too much, and by homeowners and environmental advocates as too little, and the proposed before and after testing of groundwater also generated much debate at the Commission's two-day meeting in Denver.
Denver Post; Dec. 12

Hunters kill two wolves collared for research in Wyoming national park
Thirteen wolves have been killed in hunting areas that border Grand Teton National Park, including two radio-collared wolves, and while wildlife managers said they're not concerned about the loss of wolves that roam the park, they are concerned about the emotions the killing of radio-collared wolves may evoke.
Jackson Hole News & Guide; Dec. 12


Idaho city's 'just say no' decision on airport alternatives is not an option
Given that the city of Hailey owns most of Friedman Memorial Airport, which it controls with Blaine County, the Idaho city has a primary role in determining which alternative to pursue to upgrade the airport to handle regional jet traffic, but Hailey Mayor Fritz Haemmerle's decision last week to say no to all the viable options is a head-in-the-sand approach that will throw the economy of this part of Idaho under the bus.
Idaho Mountain Express (Sun Valley); Dec. 12

Beyond the region

Texas landowner wins temporary injunction against Keystone XL pipeline
A Texas state judge has temporarily halted work on a section of the Keystone XL pipeline on private property after the landowner challenged the project because the Alberta bitumen to be shipped in the pipeline does not meet the state and federal statutory definition of crude oil.
Great Falls Tribune (AP); Dec. 12

Lower costs cited for ramping up of solar-power installations
The Solar Energy Industries Association announced that, in the third quarter of this year, 684 megawatts of solar photovoltaic capacity were installed, a 44 percent increase over the same quarter last year.
New York Times; Dec. 12

  • SolarCity makes 11th-hour decision to put off IPO
    Prospective investors were surprised by the decision of SolarCity, a California company that installs and leases solar-power systems to companies and homeowners, to abruptly pull out of its planned IPO.
    San Francisco Chronicle; Dec. 12

Washington State U. launches its own line of beef
The beef being marketed as Washington State University's Premium Beef is raised by staff and animal science students at the university, and the Angus beef is similar to Wagyu beef that originated in Japan.
Denver Post (AP); Dec. 12

Mountain West News is a program of the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West
at The University of Montana.
"W e're not dealing with a grub stake or prospector going out there, but multinational companies that end up exporting most of the minerals they take out. And we're getting nothing back for taxpayers to maintain parks, offset the deficit and to clean up abandoned mines all over the West."

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


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