In the Rockies today, a single donor steps in with the final $750,000 needed to retire gas leases on 58,000 acres in Wyoming's Noble Basin.
Joe Ricketts, the founder of TD Ameritrade who owns a ranch in Sublette County and who had previously given $1 million to the Trust for Public Lands, pitched in the final amount.
Swiss billionaire and Wilson resident Hansjorg Wyss contributed $4.75 million of the $8.75 million needed to retire the leases.
Also in the news, a couple of Bureau of Land Management decisions issued last week that have generated some controversy.
On Dec. 27, the BLM approved the 263-mile route of a pipeline Southern Nevada Water Authority wants to build to move groundwater south from the Utah-Nevada border to Las Vegas, a step that moves the $15.5-billion project one step closer to construction.
And that same day, the BLM gave its approval to Arch Coal Co.'s proposed expansion of its West Elk Coal Mine in Colorado, a decision conservation groups said they'll challenge in court.
And in Montana, a state district judge who imposed a temporary injunction on wolf hunting in Park County, lifted that injunction, allowing hunting and trapping to continue in that area north of Yellowstone National Park.
And in our In-depth section, a couple of articles containing details about the federal fiscal deal that are salient to the West: The extension of the wind-power production tax credit and the short-term extension of some farm bill programs, including one that will keep the price of milk from rising sharply.