The Rockies Today, Dec. 21



Top news links, courtesy of Headwaters News.

Montana governor's ban on moving wildlife stalls fish restocking plans
Gov. Brian Schweitzer imposed a rule prohibiting the Interior Department from transporting wildlife in or out of Montana, and while the rule was directed primarily at bison, it is also prohibiting planned stocking of fish from hatcheries in the state to various lakes and reservoirs.
Helena Independent Record; Dec. 21

Study of golden eagles in Yellowstone area tracks dwindling numbers
For the third year in an ongoing study of golden eagles in the Yellowstone ecosystem, the number of golden eagles has again declined, and biologists said a dramatic decline in cottontail rabbits, a primary food source for the big birds, may be driving the drop in numbers.
Casper Star-Tribune (Billings Gazette); Dec. 21

Expert panel releases report on Missouri River flood of 2011
A 99-page report on the massive Missouri River flood this spring that caused $630 million in damage to levees, dams and channels built to control the 2,341-mile-long river that flows from Montana through six other states was due to "climatic extremes," and the panel absolved the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers of any fault in the floods.
Great Falls Tribune (AP); Dec. 21

Encana fires back at EPA's report on hydraulic fracturing in Wyoming
Alberta-based Encana Corp., the second largest producer of natural gas in North America, tore apart the Environmental Protection Agency's investigation of possible water contamination near Pavillion, Wyo., by the use of hydraulic fracturing, calling the federal agency's investigation fraught with errors, and Encana officials said they planned to file a response to the EPA's report that details each and every one of the errors by Jan. 27.
Edmonton Journal; Dec. 21

Wyoming asks Idaho National Laboratory to review coal-to-gasoline plan
Texas-based DKRW Advanced Fuels wants to build a coal-to-gasoline plant in Wyoming near Medicine Bow, and the company has cleared a preliminary review by the U.S. Energy Department for a $1.75-billion loan guarantee, has raised $100 million from investors, and has asked Wyoming to buy $300 million in industrial bonds for the project, prompting the state to ask Idaho National Laboratory to review DKRW's plan.
Casper Star-Tribune; Dec. 21

Oil, gas industry at work on Idaho legislation to curb local control of drilling
After Washington County proposed a slate of regulations on oil and gas operations in that Idaho county, wildcat drillers in the state are planning to ask legislators to pass a bill to prevent local governments from imposing such regulations, saying that a patchwork of rules would snuff out the state's nascent energy industry.
Idaho Statesman (AP); Dec. 21

Montana governor signs $116.5M restoration plan for Upper Clark Fork Valley
The $116.5-million restoration plan for the Upper Clark Fork Valley approved by Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer divides those funds with 36 percent will go to Butte and Anaconda to address contaminated water supplies; 39 percent of the remaining funds will be used for work on the upper Clark Fork River; and 25 percent for restoration of wildlife habitat contaminated by mine waste.
Missoulian; Dec. 21

Colorado officials say structural problem found at another Neenan-built school
Neenan Co. has agreed to reinforce the roof above a physical-education and wrestling room the company built for the Sargent Junior-Senior High School in Colorado's San Luis Valley, after a structural analysis found the roof could collapse under the weight of 10 inches of snow.
Denver Post; Dec. 21

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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