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Rocky Mountain Front
Photo courtesy of Rick and Susie Graetz
Monday, Feb. 11, 2013
produced daily by Shellie Nelson

Editor's Notes...

West map In the Rockies today, the focus is on getting oil from where it's pumped from the ground to markets.

At an economic summit in Alberta, Energy Minister Ken Hughes said developing a way to get Alberta oil to overseas markets--thereby ensuring the best price for the oil--is a priority.

In Utah, where a single, primarily two-lane highway is the best route to move oil from the productive Uinta Basin to Salt Lake City refineries, the state Department of Transportation and local governments in Duchesne and Uintah counties are asking the state Legislature to fund a $3-million study on ways to ease the transportation bottleneck.

And in Wyoming, two rail-loading facilities are in the works to allow oil to be pumped into tank cars and moved by rail to markets.

Also in the news, biologists in Yellowstone National Park said 12 percent of the wolf population were killed by hunters outside of the park this year, and advocacy groups have differing views on how Sally Jewell, President Obama's nomination to replace Ken Salazar as Interior secretary, will handle the issue of wild horses on public lands.

Rockies today

Alberta energy strategy: Get oil to international markets
At Alberta's first economic summit on Saturday, Energy Minister Ken Hughes said a priority for the province will be to develop a strategy to get oil to international markets to get the best possible price for the product.
Edmonton Journal; Feb. 11

Utah study says lack of transportation options could strand production in Uinta Basin
A study done by the Utah Department of Transportation and local governments within Uintah and Duchesne counties found that oil and gas production in the Uinta Basin could be hindered by a lack of transportation options, and members of the Legislature's Infrastructure and General Government Appropriations Committee were asked to fund a second study to explore options to improve the flow of that oil to markets.
Salt Lake Tribune; Feb. 9

Companies pitch plans to increase rail shipments of oil in Wyoming
Since January, two companies have announced plans to build facilities in Wyoming to load crude oil into tanker cars for shipment by rail.
Casper Star-Tribune; Feb. 11

Federal investigation of coal sales finds no violations yet
After Oregon U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski questioned if companies that paid royalties on coal pulled from federal lands based on domestic sales prices were actually selling the coal overseas at much higher prices, the Interior Department began examining coal contracts, and so far, no violations had been found.
Washington Post (AP); Feb. 11

Idaho Power studying upgrades of coal-fired plants vs. building n-gas plant
Idaho Power estimates it will cost the utility $500 million to help cover the cost of upgrades at coal-fired power plants in Wyoming and Nevada to reduce emissions, and the utility is comparing the cost of those upgrades to older, out-of-state plants to the cost of building a natural-gas power plant in Idaho.
Idaho Statesman; Feb. 11

Hunting on path to be lead cause of wolf mortality in Yellowstone NP
Wolf hunts in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming have taken a toll on the wolf population in Yellowstone National Park, with 12 percent of the park's wolf population killed by hunters this year.
Great Falls Tribune (Bozeman Daily Chronicle); Feb. 11

Wild-horse advocacy groups split over Jewell's nomination to Interior
While some wild-horse advocacy groups are optimistic about Sally Jewell's nomination to replace Ken Salazar as secretary of the Interior, others are questioning how well someone with a background in oil and banking will protect wild horses.
Idaho Statesman (AP); Feb. 11

Rocky Mountain Power's Blue Sky program funds Utah solar projects
The Blue Sky program of Rocky Mountain Power provides funding for community-based, renewable energy projects, and this year, the program paid out nearly $1.8 million for 20 solar projects.
Salt Lake Tribune; Feb. 11

Opinion

China edges out U.S. as world's largest trader
In 2012, China's imports and exports were valued at $3.87 trillion, while the imports and exports in the U.S. were $3.82 trillion, putting China at the top in the world of trade, and still--Alberta has no way to get its oil to China. A column by Gary Lamphier.
Edmonton Journal; Feb. 11

Republicans take aim at Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
The fight to keep President Obama's recess appointment to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which Republicans are pursuing to force changes in the oversight of the agency, is purely a power grab to give Congress the ability to stop financial regulation.
New York Times; Feb. 11

Beyond the region

Lower oil imports cited for shrinking U.S. trade gap
Oil imports in the United States fell to their lowest level since 1999 in December, a factor in the $10.1-billion decrease in the U.S. trade deficit that month as well.
Christian Science Monitor; Feb. 11

Starbucks follows Target to Canada
Target is opening 124 stores in Canada in 2013, with the first store opening this month, and Starbuck plans to open outlets in many of those stores, although the Seattle-based coffee giant isn't saying how many of the Target stores will get a Starbucks outlet.
Edmonton Journal; Feb. 11

Organic farming moves from fringe to niche market
The Organic Trade Association expects sales of organic fruit and vegetables will continue to grow, and that the 9.4 percent increase reported between 2010 and 2011, will be higher for 2012 when final numbers are tallied.
Portland Oregonian; Feb. 11



Mountain West News is a program of the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West
at The University of Montana.
"I anticipate that we'll be looking at a number of things. We'll be looking at additional pipeline corridors. We'll be looking for utility corridors. We'll be looking at highway access and possibly a new highway access. I think we'll be looking at rail. I think we'll even be looking at increasing the airport to handle additional things. It's got to be a number of those."

State Sen. Kevin Van Tassel, discussing the need for a study on how to move oil and gas from Utah's Uinta Basin to markets.
- Salt Lake Tribune

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The University of Montana