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Rocky Mountain Front
Photo courtesy of Rick and Susie Graetz
Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013
produced daily by Shellie Nelson

Editor's Notes...

West map In the Rockies today, federal lands, bison and wolves are in the news.

Alaska's U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich have introduced legislation to repeal the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule, which restricts road building and other activities in areas of federal forest lands.

Management of those federal forest lands could change, as the U.S. House subcommittee on natural resources is considering a proposal to create federal forest trusts, similar to those in use in 22 states, which would allow federal forest lands to be managed to increase revenue.

In Utah, the state House approved a measure that would provide $450,000 to analyze the effect of transferring federal lands to the state to manage.

In Montana, where the state's wolf hunting and trapping season is set to end on March 1, wildlife officials said 53 more wolves were killed this hunting season than last year, with most of the 219 wolves taken in western Montana.

In Wyoming, state senators frustrated with a lack of success on passing legislation to curb potential federal regulations on guns, slipped an amendment into a bill that increases licenses for bison hunts to provide $250,000 to the state attorney general's office to fight any federal regulations that limit Wyoming residents' ability to hunt big game.

House members were incensed by the amendment, but faced with the end of the legislative session, went ahead and voted to approve the amended legislation.

Gov. Matt Mead is having his staff review the measure to see if it will pass legal muster.

Montana Public Radio's broadcast of The Write Question tonight at 7:30 features Cherie Newman's interview of author Alan S. Kesselheim and photographer Thomas Lee about their book "Montana: Real Place, Real People."
Rockies today

Alaska senators introduce bill to repeal 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule
U.S. Sens. Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski have introduced legislation that will reverse the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule that prohibits road building and other activities in roadless areas of national forests.; Feb. 28

Idaho governor testifies before U.S. House subcommittee on public lands
On Tuesday, Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter pressed members of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation to approve a forest land trust in his state first proposed in 1988, and the chairman of the subcommittee, Utah U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, said it's time for a dramatic shift in management of federal forest lands.
Idaho Statesman; Feb. 27

Utah House approves measure to fund study on federal lands to Senate
Legislation that would provide $450,000 to analyze the complexities and economic effects of Utah assuming control of federal lands within its borders passed in the state House with just one dissenting vote on Wednesday and now moves to the state Senate for action.
Salt Lake Tribune; Feb. 27

Cyber attacks targeted U.S. natural gas pipeline companies
A restricted government report indicates that an espionage group recently linked to the Chinese military targeted 23 natural gas pipeline companies in the United States in late 2011 and early 2012 and was able to extract sensitive information that put those pipeline systems at risk.
Christian Science Monitor; Feb. 27

Wyoming Senate slips gun amendment into must-pass bison hunt bill
Wednesday was the last day of Wyoming's legislative session, and House lawmakers were forced to approve a bison hunting bill into which the Senate slipped an amendment that provided $250,000 to fight any federal law that would restrict guns Wyoming law allows to be used to hunt bison.
Casper Star-Tribune; Feb. 28

Montana wolf hunt ends Friday, 219 killed so far
The general rifle and trapping seasons for wolves in Montana both end March 1, with 128 wolves shot and 91 trapped, with most of the wolves taken in the 77 districts in western Montana.
Flathead Beacon; Feb. 28

Report says Alberta won't meet greenhouse gas emission targets
Despite Premier Alison Redford's proclamations about Alberta's commitment to protecting the environment in her guest column published in USA Today earlier this week, a new report indicates that the province will not meet its pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Edmonton Journal; Feb. 27

U.S. Labor report: Idaho leads nation in minimum-wage jobs
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released a report that said 7.7 percent of workers in Idaho were paid $7.25 an hour or less in 2012, a 63 percent increase over the number working for that wage in 2011.
Spokane Spokesman-Review; Feb. 28


Time has come for Colorado to enact marijuana limits for drivers
Colorado's enthusiasm for legalizing marijuana has outpaced the state's ability to enforce responsible use of the drug, especially when the use of marijuana intersects with the operation of a motor vehicle, and while the current proposal to establish an impaired limit of 5 nanograms of THC may not be perfect, it's at least a start.
Durango Herald; Feb. 28

Beyond the region

Oregon legislators work on fix for state's timber-dependent counties
With the federal program to provide funding to counties that lost revenue from the sale of timber on federal lands coming to an end, Oregon's state lawmakers are working on legislation to allow the state to redirect funds to help those counties.
Portland Oregonian; Feb. 28

Nevada lawmakers have 10 pieces of land swap legislation pending
The federal government owns 87 percent of the land within Nevada's borders, and legislation is frequently introduced to allow land swaps to free up some of that land for development and conservation, but getting Congress to act on the bills has become increasingly difficult, and federal lawmakers from the Silver State have 10 such bills on their agenda.
Las Vegas Sun; Feb. 28

Higher temperatures, drought thin forests in Eastern U.S.
Satellite images of the nation show that, in the decade between 2000 and 2010, 40 percent of the forests in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States lost between 10 and 15 percent of tree canopy cover.
USA Today; Feb. 27

Mountain West News is a program of the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West
at The University of Montana.
"I believe our forests and public lands are long overdue for a paradigm shift."

Utah U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, chairman of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation, at a hearing Tuesday on creating federal programs similar to forest trusts in place in 22 states.
- 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
2013 Wilderness Institute Lecture Series, University of Montana-Missoula, Room 122, Gallagher Business Building, 7 p.m.

  • March 5: David Campbell, from the Bitterroot National Forest West Fork Ranger District will present, "Wilderness and Fire: Lessons learned from 40 years of success in the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness"

  • March 12:  "Wild salmon, wild lands," by Sam Mace, inland Northwest Director of Save Our Wild Salmon

  • March 19:  Author and journalist Emma Marris will lecture on "The New Wild," developed from research from her latest book, "The Rambunctious Garden."

  • March 26:  "Wilderness, Wildness, and Biodiversity", by Reed Noss, research professor at the University of Central Florida and president of the Florida Institute for Conservation Science

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