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Rocky Mountain Front
Photo courtesy of Rick and Susie Graetz
Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012
produced daily by Shellie Nelson
Page 2
More news from the Rockies
Community
Colorado county commission makes its move on marijuana
The El Paso Board of County Commissioners voted 4-1 on Tuesday to advance an ordinance that would effectively ban retail marijuana outlets, and the Colorado county will vote on a final version of the ordinance on Jan. 15.
Colorado Springs Gazette; Dec. 19

Federal appeals court allows Montana to pursue T. Blixseth for back taxes
A panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court's decision on Monday and found that Nevada is the proper venue for Montana to pursue its claim of back taxes owned by Tim Blixseth, the founder and former owner of the Yellowstone Club.
Great Falls Tribune (AP); Dec. 19

Montana community college uses federal funds for manufacturing classes
A $3 million federal grant helped Flathead Community College in Kalispell develop two programs in industrial machine technology, and those programs were approved by the Montana community college's board on Monday.
Kalispell Daily InterLake; Dec. 19

Environment
Nature Conservancy, Elk Foundation team up to protect Wyoming ranch
The Nature Conservancy and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation announced they had reached a deal to protect about 2,100 acres of the HF Bar Ranch in northeastern Wyoming.
Casper Star-Tribune (AP); Dec. 19

U.S. House passes bill to allow work on aging pipeline in Montana park
Legislation sponsored by Montana U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg that will allow maintenance work to be done on a half-century old natural gas pipeline that passes through Glacier National Park passed the U.S. House on Tuesday, and a companion bill will likely be taken up by the U.S. Senate this week.
Missoulian; Dec. 19

USFWS to review status of woodland caribou herd in Idaho, Washington
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is undertaking a year-long review of the woodland caribou herd in the Selkirk Mountains in northern Idaho and northeastern Washington state to determine if federal protection of the caribou should be lifted.
Idaho Statesman; Dec. 19

Politics
Budget negotiations colored by extent of federal benefits
One of the complicating factors in the federal budget negotiations is that nearly 50 percent of the residents of the United States receive benefits in some form or another from the federal government, and in four counties in Idaho, federal benefits make up 30 percent or more of all personal income.
Idaho Statesman and the McClatchy News Service; Dec. 19

Former Colorado governor reportedly on short list for federal energy post
Bill Ritter, who served as Colorado governor from 2007 to 2011, and now the head of Colorado State University's Center for the New Energy Economy, was among the candidates the Washington Post reported Tuesday to be under consideration to be the new secretary of Energy.
Denver Post; Dec. 19

Legislature
Five Montana legislators attend Billings Conservation Roundtable
In preparation for the upcoming legislative session in Montana, the Billings Conservation Roundtable invited state lawmakers to meet and discuss conservation, renewable-energy and voter access issues on Tuesday, and five Democratic lawmakers attended.
Billings Gazette; Dec. 19

Economy
Canadian owner of Colorado coal mine fails to make interest payment
Toronto-based Cline Mining Co., the new owner of the New Elk Mine in Trinidad, has apparently missed the deadline for a semi-annual, $2.5-million payment of interest on its $50-million loan, and the Canadian company is currently exploring its option on the Colorado coal mine, which has been shut down since July.
Denver Post; Dec. 19

Arkansas company gets permit to drill for rare earth minerals in Idaho
U.S. Rare Earths, Inc. announced it had received a permit to drill for rare earth minerals on its holdings in North Fork, the second such permit it has in Idaho.
PR Newswire; Dec. 19

Bogus Basin in Idaho to open Friday
Enough snow has fallen in western Idaho to allow Bogus Basin to open Dec. 21, although not all runs are open.
Idaho Statesman; Dec. 19

Idaho man's business butchers poultry for others
Al's Poultry Processing in Wendell has been in business for just a year, but Alfred Kuhn said the Idaho business is booming.
Twin Falls Times-News; Dec. 19

Wind generation helps Colorado meet, surpass renewable energy mandate
Xcel Energy in Colorado gets about 17 percent of the electricity it needs from wind-generated power, and since the utility says it has enough renewable energy in its portfolio to meet the state's mandate for the next 15 years, and with federal incentives for wind power expiring the end of this year, the prospects for future wind-generation projects are uncertain.
Denver Post; Dec. 19





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at The University of Montana.
"I f trends continue, baseline tree mortality rates in western forests are projected to double every 17 to 29 years."


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Mountain West News is a program of the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West



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