Rockies Today, March 6

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Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

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Groups urge BLM to impose new limits on Wyoming natural-gas project
If the planned Continental Divide-Creston Natural Gas project between Rock Springs and Rawlins goes forward, there could be 9,000 new natural gas wells drilled in that area of Wyoming, and a number of conservation groups are asking the Bureau of Land Management to take additional steps to address emissions and other environmental effects of the project, a process Anadarko Petroleum, one of the companies involved, said it was amenable to explore.
Casper Star-Tribune; March 6

Report says resources, not regulations, driving drilling rigs off federal lands
A report released by the Center for Western Priorities found that 89 percent of shale oil and mixed oil and gas in the Intermountain West are on private lands, and said that the location of those resources, not federal regulation, was spurring development off federal lands.
Salt Lake Tribune; March 6

Utah bill on grazing in Escalante surprises monument's manager
Utah state Rep. Mike Noel said HB382, which designates a "grazing zone" over and around the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, was needed because grazing within the 1.9-million-acre national monument was endangered, but monument manager Rene Berkhoudt, who said no one contacted him or other monument officials, said grazing is allowed in the monument and the only thing that drives fluctuations in permits is conditions on the ground; the House passed the bill.
Salt Lake Tribune; March 6

Fort Collins defies Colorado law, bans hydraulic fracturing
The Fort Collins City Council voted Tuesday to ban the use of hydraulic fracturing to drill wells within its city limits, and the state of Colorado as well as the Colorado Oil and Gas Association are expected to file lawsuits challenging the ban.
Denver Post; March 6

Utah board denies Alton Coal's demand for attorneys' fees
The Utah Board of Oil, Gas and Mining ruled Wednesday that Alton Coal was not entitled to attorney's fees in its successful bid to open a strip mine near Bryce Canyon National Park, because the mining company did not prove that the lawsuit filed by conservation groups was filed in "bad faith," meant only to harass or embarrass.
Salt Lake Tribune; March 6

Debate on universal background checks on sales divides gun lobby
The National Shooting Sports Foundation, some gunmakers and other gun-rights advocates are quietly supporting the proposal to require background checks on all gun sales.
Washington Post; March 6

USFS: Beetle infestation of Idaho forests is declining
In 2012, the number of acres of forests in Idaho affected by pine bark beetles decreased to 719,000 acres, a 63 percent since 2010, when two million acres had been infested with the burrowing bugs, and one U.S. Forest Service entomologist said the slowing of the infestation rate was due to the bugs running out of host trees.
Casper Star-Tribune (Idaho Falls Post-Register); March 6

Alberta sets guidelines for communities to count 'shadow population'
In Alberta communities where large numbers of temporary workers dwell, those communities now have a new set of regulations that will allow them to include those temporary residents in Census counts used by the province to allocate funding for services.
Edmonton Journal; March 6

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.

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