Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.
Montana county commissioners challenge USFS's water-rights filings
In 2007, the U.S. Forest Service and Montana completed 15 years of negotiations over water rights that the federal agency to file for in-stream water rights on rivers and creeks on federal lands and the Forest Service has completed such filings on five streams and are working on 11 others, which has raised the concerns of the Ravalli County Commission and local residents.
Ravalli Republic; Feb. 12
Congress to review program to provide rural areas with Internet access
Contained within President Obama's 2009 stimulus package was the $4 billion Broadband Technology Opportunities Program, designed to extend Internet access to underserved rural areas of the nation, but like the project in Agate, Colo., where a fiber-optic line was added to two already in place, the program is not working as proposed, and Congress is considering a review of the program to determine if indeed funds were wasted or misspent.
New York Times; Feb. 12
Colorado Oil, Gas Commission adopts 500-foot setback on oil, gas wells
The decision Monday by the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to adopt a 500-foot buffer zone for new oil and gas wells from homes will not be the last word on the rule change, as displeased industry leaders, as well as unhappy environmental and health groups said they'll take the issue to the state Legislature.
Denver Post; Feb. 12
Idaho House resolution addresses fire-damaged trails on federal lands
On Monday, the Idaho House Resources and Conservation Committee agreed to debate a resolution calling for the U.S. Forest Service to clean up years of damage caused by wildfires on the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness' trail system in eastern and central Idaho, or to let volunteers work on the trails.
Idaho Statesman (AP); Feb. 12
Utah Democrats submit 6 bills to fight air pollution
On Monday, a package of six bills designed to address air-quality problems in northern Utah was introduced by Utah House Democrats.
Salt Lake Tribune; Feb. 12
Colorado ski resorts' expansion plans earn them poor ratings
A coalition of environmental groups issued the annual Ski Area Environmental Scorecard that gave four ski areas in Colorado D's, apparently because Breckenridge, Eldora, Monarch and Steamboat have all proposed plans to expand.
Denver Post; Feb. 12
New owner of Wyoming-Nevada power line project promises details soon
On Monday, a representative of Duke Energy American Transmission Co., the company that purchased the Zephyr Transmission Project from TransCanada in 2011, told the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority board that the company will release its proposed route of the Wyoming-to-Nevada transmission line project by late next month.
Billings Gazette (Casper Star-Tribune); Feb. 12
Mountain West News is a project of the Center for the Rocky Mountain West at The University of Montana. It provides a daily snapshot of news and opinion in the Rocky Mountain region of North America, giving the changing mountain West a tool to understand itself and a platform for the exchange of ideas.