The Rockies Today, Dec. 19

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Top news links, courtesy of Headwaters News.

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation withdraws support for Idaho land swap
The proposed land swap in Northern Idaho that would trade 18,000 acres of U.S. Forest Service lands in three forests in Idaho for 40,000 acres owned by Western Pacific Timber in the upper Lochsa River basin had the early support of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, but the organization withdrew that support last week and cited concern of members and the expansion of the deal into elk habitat in Idaho County.
Idaho Statesman (Lewiston Tribune); Dec. 19

Bakken oil boom boosts business in Montana city
The 350 or so businesses at work pulling oil out of the Bakken oil play in eastern Montana and western North Dakota are courting dozens of businesses in Billings, seeking workers, pipes and other materials needed in the oilfields.
Billings Gazette; Dec. 19

Wyoming congresswoman's wolf rider dropped from Interior budget bill
U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis attached a rider to the 2012 Interior appropriations bill that would have blocked lawsuits challenging Wyoming's plan to remove wolves from protection under the Endangered Species Act, but the provision was dropped from the bill, a move conservation lawyers applauded.
Casper Star-Tribune; Dec. 19

Grazing on the slide in Colorado national forest
As ranches have given way to other uses in Colorado's Roaring Fork Valley, so too have grazing leases in the Aspen and Sopris districts of the White River National Forest given way to other uses. This is part four of the Aspen Times' five-part series on the White River National Forest.
Aspen Times; Dec. 19

Colorado city gears up to be nation's next Motor City
Detroit has historically been the Motor City in the United States, but work that's been ongoing for a couple of decades at the Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory, which is part of Colorado State University in Fort Collins, suggests the epicenter of the nation's automobile manufacturing may be headed West.
New York Times; Dec. 17

Debt collection a growing business in Idaho
Since 2008, the number of debt collection agencies doing business in Idaho has increased about 20 percent, and the agencies that are collecting debts are making changes on how debtors can pay off what they owe to reflect the new economic reality.
Idaho Statesman; Dec. 19

Increase in immigrant truck drivers, fatal accidents a rising concern
A speeding FedEx truck driven by a Russian truckdriver killed a volunteer fireman on a snowy night in Montana in 2008, and an interpreter was needed to take the driver's statement, revealing an alarming trend in the trucking industry, schools that churn out drivers with commercial licenses who do not speak English well enough to pass CDL tests.
Missoulian; Dec. 19

Russian drivers flock to American trucking industry
Pat Dawson, a writer based in Billings, Mont., reports on an increasing trend of Russian immigrants guiding big rigs over the nation's highways.
Time Magazine; Sept. 4

Headwaters 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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