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Rocky Mountain Front
Photo courtesy of Rick and Susie Graetz
Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013
produced daily by Shellie Nelson
Page 2
More news from the Rockies
Colorado scrambles to regulate burgeoning energy boom
As drilling operations creep ever closer to cities' limits in Colorado, the state is scrambling to get regulations in place, but so far environmental groups have criticized new rules as containing too many loopholes, and the energy industry said they contain too many requirements for drilling companies.
Denver Post (AP); Feb. 28

Canada Post's new $200 levy for new homes angers homebuilders
Canada Post activated a $200 per-box levy for new housing projects on Jan. 1 to help pay for the banks of postal boxes installed to serve new homes, a move that the Canadian Home Builders’ Association said violates a 1996 agreement where Canada Post moved to community boxes to cut costs.
Edmonton Journal; Feb. 27

Wyoming to seek waiver on No Child Left Behind
The Wyoming Department of Education will file paperwork today seeking flexibility on meeting No Child Left Behind standards in 2014.
Casper Star-Tribune; Feb. 28

Flood of applicants slows approvals for concealed-carry permits in Denver
Denver police officials said the department is working as quickly as possible to process concealed-carry permits, but staff members have been overwhelmed by the sheer number of applications and it will take months to clear the backlog.
Denver Post; Feb. 28

Alberta city's sewage system can't keep up with population boom
For the past 25 years, Calgary has been turning biosolids from its sewage treatment plant into fertilizer, but the population boom in the Alberta city has outpaced the system's capacity.
Calgary Herald; Feb. 28

Panel submits $38M wastewater bond recommendation to Idaho city
A citizen wastewater advisory committee submitted its recommendation Wednesday to the Twin Falls City Council that the council put before voters a $38-million bond proposal to upgrade the Idaho city's wastewater treatment system, with $32 million of that amount to be used to pay for improvements and the remainder be used to upgrade or replace sections of the system.
Twin Falls Times-News; Feb. 28

Shamrock Bikeway would be longest in Boise, Ada County
Boise and the Ada County Highway District are working on an in-town bicycle route that will stretch from Executive Drive and the neighborhoods north of McMillan Road and will follow Shamrock Avenue.
Idaho Statesman; Feb. 28

Women prisoners in Utah State Prison exceed capacity
According to The Sentencing Project report released this week, the number of women sentenced to prison over the past three decades has outpaced the number of men sentenced, a trend reflected in Utah, where the number of women prisoners exceeded the capacity of the Utah State Prison for the first time this week.
Salt Lake Tribune; Feb. 27

Groups urge EPA to act on ozone levels in Utah's Uinta Basin
Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment and WildEarth Guardians said the Environmental Protection Agency has plenty of information detailing the need to curb ozone pollution in Utah's Uinta Basin, but oil and gas industry groups said no action should be taken until further studies are done.
Salt Lake Tribune; Feb. 27

Second deadline in Cobell settlement is March 1
The second round of payments under the settlement of the Cobell lawsuit will result in the payment of an estimated $800 to all tribal class action members, but they must file a claim by March 1.
Indian Country Today; Feb. 27

BLM updates management plans for wilderness areas in Idaho's Owyhee County
The Bureau of Land Management posted its proposed update for managing six wilderness areas and 16 wild and scenic river segments in Idaho's Owyhee County online, and will take public comments on the proposal through April 30.
Twin Falls Times-News; Feb. 28

Seasonal road closures in Yellowstone NP begin Friday
Over-snow travel season is drawing to a close in Yellowstone National Park, and on Friday, the East Entrance will close at 9 p.m., and on Sunday, over-snow travel into the park from Mammoth Hot Springs will close at 9 p.m., and other closures will take effect next week.
Billings Gazette; Feb. 28

USFS says lack of funding will keep visitor's center in Wyoming closed
Bighorn National Forest managers announced Wednesday that the Burgess Junction Visitor Center in Wyoming's Big Horn Mountains 50 miles west of Sheridan will not open this year because revenue has not kept pace with costs.
Billings Gazette; Feb. 28

Idaho Fish and Game Commission to meet in March to set hunting seasons
On March 18-19 in Boise, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission will meet to set hunting seasons for deer, elk, pronghorn, black bear, gray wolf and mountain lion hunts this fall.
Twin Falls Times-News; Feb. 28

Montana governor releases his plan to expand Medicaid
Gov. Steve Bullock rolled out his plan to expand Medicaid enrollment by 70,000 in Montana, with federal dollars to pay the lion's share of the cost.
Helena Independent Record (AP); Feb. 28

Wyoming governor applauds legislators' work
On Wednesday, Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead said legislators did good work this past session, and leaders of the state Senate and House have scheduled press conferences this morning to discuss the session.
Casper Star-Tribune; Feb. 28

Idaho legislator builds support for constitutional amendment on militia
State Sen. Jim Rice and other Idaho legislators are concerned about changes in federal laws on gun ownership and believe that the best defense against such changes would be to amend the Idaho Constitution to make all adults in the state members of the militia, and Rice said he will work to put the amendment before voters in 2014.
Coeur d'Alene Press; Feb. 28

Montana House endorses GOP-sponsored bills to cut taxes
On Wednesday, the Montana House declined to advance Gov. Steve Bullock's proposal to give Montana homeowners a one-time, $400 rebate, but did endorse two Republican-sponsored measures to reduce property and business equipment taxes.
Ravalli Republic; Feb. 28

Bill to preserve Native American languages passes the Montana Senate
On Wednesday, the Montana Senate voted 44-6 to approve legislation sponsored by Sen. Jonathan Windy Boy to provide $2 million in funding for a pilot program to preserve Native American languages, with the bill now moving to the House for action.
Missoulian; Feb. 28

Montana Senate approves bill allowing civil penalties in trespass cases
State Sen. Frederick "Eric" Moore said his legislation that would allow property owners to pursue civil penalties in trespass cases is necessary because current law allows only criminal charges that need law enforcement involvement, but Great Falls Sen. Anders Blewett said the change was aimed at preventing "corner crossings," where public and private lands intersect; the measure was approved on a 27-23 vote and sent to the House for action.
Great Falls Tribune; Feb. 28

Wyoming Senate relents, approves Mead's nominees for PSC
Just a day after concluding that Kara Brighton and William Russell lacked the necessary expertise to fill seats on the Public Service Commission, the Wyoming Senate reconsidered the rejection of Gov. Matt Mead's nominees and confirmed them.
Casper Star-Tribune; Feb. 28

Bill requiring legislative approval of Medicaid expansion on Wyoming governor's desk
On the last day of the legislative session in Wyoming, lawmakers approved a bill that would prohibit state officials from expanding Medicaid programs without the Legislature's approval, and sent the measure to Gov. Matt Mead.
Casper Star-Tribune; Feb. 28

Wyoming governor signs bill making hitchhiking legal in the state
It is now again legal to hitch a ride in Wyoming, after Gov. Matt Mead signed legislation making it so.
Jackson Hole Daily; Feb. 28

Plum Creek Timber to reopen Montana sawmill
On Wednesday, Plum Creek Timber Co. officials announced that rising lumber prices would allow the company to reopen its Evergreen stud mill on April 1, with plans to start with one shift in the Montana mill.
Missoulian; Feb. 28

Montana-based Stillwater Mining releases year-end earnings report
Stillwater Mining Co., the company that operates platinum and palladium mines in Montana that has been targeted in a takeover bid by the state's former Gov. Brian Schweitzer and a New York hedge fund, reported its 2012 earnings were 62 percent lower than earnings reported in 2011.
Great Falls Tribune (AP); Feb. 28

Mayors of 3 Rocky Mountain West cities propose partnership
At the third annual Rocky Mountain West Urban Leadership Symposium in Denver on Wednesday, mayors of Denver, Salt Lake City and Boise said municipalities of the Rocky Mountain West must work together to establish global economic ties with their region of the nation.
Denver Post; 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