The Rockies Today, April 30

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Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Montana ag families applaud Obama administration's decision on child workers
While child labor groups were dismayed by the Obama administration's decision to back off regulations that limited work children under the age of 18 could do on farms and ranchers, Montana's agricultural families applauded the decision because they said the regulations would have prevented younger family members from working on farms and ranches of aunts, uncles and grandparents.
Great Falls Tribune (AP); April 28

Western governors urge united front on public lands, water issues
At a meeting in Utah on Friday, the governors of Idaho, Wyoming and Utah, along with Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, who participated via telephone, said that Western states need to stand united on issues such as management of public lands, water and resources, if the West is to have a voice in negotiations with the federal government.
Salt Lake Tribune; April 28

Federal agencies, Montana ranchers team up on sage grouse initiative
Government land agencies and conservation groups, along with property owners in 11 Western states, including Montana, are working on public-private initiative to improve sage grouse habitat to help increase numbers of the iconic bird with the goal of keeping the species off the federal endangered list.
Great Falls Tribune; April 29

TransCanada to refile for Keystone XL permit
Last week, TransCanada chief executive Russ Girling said that the company plans to re-apply for a permit for its Keystone XL pipeline to cross the Canada-U.S. border, and the company has already begun construction of the southern leg of that pipeline, while the company is also working on a proposal to switch one of its five Alberta-Quebec pipelines that now carry natural gas to move oil east from Alberta.
Calgary Herald; April 30

Utah's air-pollution reduction efforts mean across-the-board work
Northern Utah has until the end of the year to get its air quality within limits required by the federal Clean Air Act, and the members of the advisory panel who thought going after industry learned that industry has already done what it can, and now the work must focus on vehicle emissions and other point sources, and limiting those emissions are bound to limit or inconvenience nearly everyone in that area of the state.
Salt Lake Tribune; April 28

Montana FWP's April aerial survey yields mixed results on Bitterroot elk
Craig Jourdonnais, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologist, said the 100 hours he spent flying over the Bitterroot Valley resulted in an estimate of 6,238 elk in that part of Montana, about 6 percent lower than last year, although the population was up in all areas except the West Fork.
Ravalli Republic; April 28

Utah, Wyoming score high in annual 'Rich States, Poor States' report
In the (pdf) American Legislative Exchange Council's fifth annual review of states' income, population, job growth, various tax rates, regulatory burdens and labor policies, Utah ranked No. 1 and Wyoming retained its fourth-place ranking as among the best in the nation. Idaho ranked sixth; Colorado eighth; and Montana ranked 36th.
Billings Gazette (Casper Star-Tribune); April 30

Idaho county commission hires big gun in caribou delisting lawsuit
The Bonner County Commission has hired the law firm that successfully represented an Idaho couple before the U.S. Supreme Court in a wetlands lawsuit to represent the Idaho county in its opposition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's proposal to designate hundreds of thousands of acres in Idaho and Washington state as critical habitat for the last remaining herd of woodland caribou in the lower 48 states.
Spokane Spokesman-Review; April 29

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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