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Rocky Mountain Front
Photo courtesy of Rick and Susie Graetz
Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013
produced daily by Shellie Nelson

Editor's Notes...

West map In the Rockies today, a mixed bag of stories.

In Montana, a recently retrieved radio collar from a grizzly bear found that the female traveled along the fringes of Missoula in October of 2011, a trek that surprised neither federal nor state bear specialists.

In Wyoming, Gov. Matt Mead wants the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to specifically evaluate the proposed Gateway Pacific Port on its own, rather than doing an environmental analysis of all the port projects proposed to allow an increase of the export of coal from Wyoming and Montana to overseas markets.

In Colorado, the El Paso County Commission passed a resolution saying that the county would not enforce federal or state laws that infringe on Second Amendment rights, and other county commissions in the state are considering similar measures.

In Utah, a fire on an oil rig kept some Roosevelt area homeowners out of their homes for a third day, as a crew from Houston was called in to help quell the fire.

And finally, the U.S. House will consider a bill today that removes a provision of the Senate-passed "fiscal cliff" bill that provides Amgen and other kidney-dialysis drug makers a two-year extension from government price controls put in the bill by Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch and Montana Sen. Max Baucus.

Today in "On the Bookshelf," and just in time for flu season, Barbara Theroux offers a review of David Quammen's "Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic."
Rockies today

Data from radio collar tracks Montana grizzly's trek near Missoula
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks bear manager Jamie Jonkel said he wasn't surprised to learn that a female grizzly bear had traveled on the fringe of Missoula in the fall of 2011, as his department has been predicting the big bruins would be expanding into the area for years.
Missoulian; Jan. 24

Idaho Power considers closing some coal-fired power plants
A report from the Northwest Power and Conservation Council said that reduced demand for electricity, along with the addition of natural-gas power plants, is keeping the supply of power stable as coal-fired power plants are taken offline, and Idaho Power is expected to release the results of its study of coal-fired power next month.
Idaho Statesman; Jan. 23

Wyoming governor asks Corps to not lump coal port proposals together
In a letter sent Tuesday to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead asked that the Corps' environmental analysis of the Gateway West Pacific Terminal in Washington, proposed to allow the export of coal from Wyoming and Montana to overseas markets, be kept separate from evaluations of other Pacific Northwest port projects.
Gillette News-Record; Jan. 24

Utah, Montana senators added bill to benefit Amgen to fiscal-cliff legislation
The U.S. House is expected to vote on a measure that would remove a measure from the fiscal-cliff legislation passed by the U.S. Senate that carved out a two-year reprieve on government price controls for a group of kidney-dialysis drugs, including Sensipar, a pill manufactured by Amgen, a donor to both Utah U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch and Montana U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, both of whom worked to get the measure put in the Senate bill.
Salt Lake Tribune; Jan. 24

Evacuations continue for third day as Utah oil rig wildfire burns out of control
A team of firefighters from Houston-based Wild Well Control have joined the fight against an oil rig fire in Utah near Roosevelt that has been raging since early Tuesday morning.
Salt Lake Tribune; Jan. 24

Colorado county passes resolution supporting Second Amendment rights
Although they acknowledged that the 23 executive orders signed by President Obama aimed at reducing gun violence in the United States will have very little effect on local law enforcement, the El Paso County Commission approved a resolution that said the Colorado county will not enforce any federal or state law that abridges Second Amendment rights.
Denver Post; Jan. 24

Idaho's Boise Cascade to go public again
Wood-products maker Boise Cascade LLC, which is now wholly owned by the private-equity firm, Madison Dearborn Partners and OfficeMax, the office-supply retail chain, will go public again, under the new name Boise Cascade Co., although the date of the stock offering has not yet been set.
Idaho Statesman; Jan. 24


County sheriffs' stance on federal gun legislation unnecessary rhetoric
Proposed federal gun bills has the Utah Sheriffs Association as well as county sheriffs across the West puffing up and proclaiming what they will and will not enforce, so here's some facts to counter the braying: Not one single piece of proposed legislation would repeal the Second Amendment, nor has any legislation been drafted to demand the seizure of legally obtained weapons.
Salt Lake Tribune; Jan. 24

EPA's incompetence unites Wyoming residents, gas operator
Some residents near Pavillion have long argued that hydraulic fracturing operations near their Wyoming homes have contaminated their drinking water wells, a charge the gas company drilling in the area has vehemently denied, but after the Environmental Protection Agency initially linked the contamination to drilling, then backed off its findings--and rightly so given the accuracy of the agency's process--those residents agree with the gas company that they've waited long enough for the EPA to get its act together.
Casper Star-Tribune; Jan. 24

Beyond the region

Monsanto, Dow Chemical up the ante as pests, weeds adapt
It's been fifteen years since genetically engineered seeds were introduced to help farmers grow pest-resistant crops, but in the intervening years, the pests have adapted, forcing the use of a wider-range of harsher chemicals to ward off bugs and weeds.
Star-Tribune; Jan. 24

Unemployment applications in U.S. fall to lowest since January 2008
The U.S. Labor Department said the number of applicants for unemployment benefits fell to the seasonally adjusted amount of 330,000, the lowest in five years, and an indication that employers have stopped cutting jobs and may be hiring.
Salt Lake Tribune (AP); Jan. 24

Dictionary of Klallam people's language released in Washington state
In 1978, there were only about 100 people who spoke the native tongue of the 5,000 or so people who now live on and around the three reservations on the Olympic Peninsula at Elwha, Jamestown and Port Gamble, and across the Strait of Juan de Fuca at Beecher Bay in Washington state, and completing a dictionary of the previously unwritten language was a race against time, but the dictionary is done, filling more than 1,000 pages.
Seattle Times; Jan. 24

Mountain West News is a program of the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West
at The University of Montana.
"W e've been saying for a long time there‚Äôs going to be a griz showing up here. For years, we've been working hard with the communities like Missoula, Seeley Lake, Clinton and Frenchtown, getting them ready."

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks bear manager Jamie Jonkel, discussing the travels of a female grizzly bear in 2011 that took her to the fringe of Missoula.
- Missoulian

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