Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.
Industry officials say Alberta oilsands boom will lead to labor shortages
The Conference Board of Canada predicts that 132,900 new jobs will be created in Alberta over the next two years, reducing the unemployment rate to near pre-recession lows in 2007.
Edmonton Journal;March 7
BLM orders state directors to monitor fire spending, gift card use
After learning of alleged abuses of a program that awarded employees gift cards and concerns about non-related expenses being charged to accounts for paying wildfire costs, U.S. Bureau of Land Management Deputy Director Michael Pool ordered state BLM directors to more closely monitor costs.
Salt Lake Tribune;March 7
Federal rule change allows Montana hard-rock mine cleanup to go on
The use of money from the federal Abandoned Mine Land program, which is funded by fees collected on coal mining, to clean up hard-rock mines has been disputed for years, but on March 1, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar directed a rule change that will give hard-rock mines liability coverage, a change that will aid the cleanup of several hard-rock mines in Montana.
Wyoming Legislature sends wolf-management bill to governor
Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead is expected to sign legislation that codifies the wolf-management plan hammered out between the state and the federal government, although it is likely the plan will face legal challenges.
Billings Gazette (AP);March 7
Idaho's melanoma mortality rate puts tanning bed limits on legislators' agenda
Idaho consistently has one of the highest mortality rates for melanoma in the nation, and with the increase in use of tanning beds viewed as at least partly to blame, legislators are working on legislation to ban children under the age of 15 from using tanning beds.
New York Times;
Arizona joins Utah in effort to get federal lands
Legislators in both Utah and Arizona are working on bills that would force the federal government to cede lands within those states' borders back to the states.
Standard-Examiner (Ogden);March 7
Fish count on stretch of Snake River in Idaho yields near record numbers
The annual fish count done in the fall last year on a two-mile stretch of the South Fork of the Snake River in Idaho's Swan Valley found 5,177 fish per mile, the highest recorded since 1986, and the number of rainbow trout is falling and cutthroat numbers are increasing, due to aggressive measures to keep non-native rainbow trout in check.
Jackson Hole News & Guide;March 7
GAO review leaves Utah uranium cleanup with Idaho company
After the Department of Energy awarded a new contract to continue the cleanup of uranium tailings near Moab to Idaho-based Portage Inc., Salt Lake City-based EnergySolutions Inc. and Colorado-based Gonzales-Stoller Remediation Services, the companies currently working on the Utah cleanup, protested the decision, prompting a review of the bid process by the Government Accountability Office, which declined to overturn the DOE's decision.
Salt Lake Tribune;March 7
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