Rockies Today, Dec. 13

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Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Billionaire brothers from Texas quietly buying up Montana ranches
In the past two years, Farris and Dan Wilks have spent millions of dollars to purchase 276,000 acres in seven counties in eastern Montana, adding to their portfolio of real estate that includes holdings in Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Kansas and Texas.
Billings Gazette; Dec. 13

Cloudy skies in the West may obscure tonight's meteor shower
One of the two largest meteor showers of the year, the Geminid meteor shower, is tonight, although cloudy skies are forecast for much of the Rocky Mountain West.
USA Today; Dec. 13

Salazar: Colorado River report 'call to action'
A report released Wednesday said that within the next 50 years demand for water from the Colorado River will outstrip supply between 3.2 million acre-feet and 8 million acre-feet, depending on population increases.
Denver Post; Dec. 13

For third consecutive year, Forbes ranks Utah best for business
Forbes Magazine's annual Best States for Business ranking again put Utah at the top, with Virginia, North Dakota, North Carolina, Colorado—all of which were in the top five last year—again made up the top five this year, although the rankings changed a bit. Washington ranked 11th; Oregon, 14th; Wyoming, 15th; Idaho, 19th; and Arizona, 25th.
Deseret News; Dec. 13

Alberta oilsands operators cut funding for regional environmental panel
Oilsands companies in Alberta cut funding from $5 million to $2.5 million for the 12-year old Cumulative Environment Management Association, which is made up of oilsands operators, First Nations, environmental groups and government officials, and said the completion of the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan, the formation of the federal-provincial monitoring panel and the energy department's plan to have one agency monitor the energy industry by June removes the need for CEMA.
Edmonton Journal; Dec. 13

Most of Cenovus Energy's $3.6B investment in 2013 will be in Alberta
Calgary-based Cenovus Energy said it plans to invest $3.6 billion in its operations in 2013, with most of that investment to be made in its Alberta operations.
Edmonton Journal; Dec. 13

Documents indicate B.C. mine will use Chinese miners for at least 4 years
One of the documents China-based HD Mining filed with the Canadian government when it applied for a permit to bring Chinese miners to British Columbia to work in the Murray Mine indicate that those workers would be needed for at least 4 years and could be employed for up to 14 years.
Vancouver Sun; Dec. 13

First Nations, environmental groups say 'no' to BC Hydro's Site C Dam
BC Hydro's proposal to build a hydroelectric dam on the Peace River in northeast British Columbia is the last straw for First Nations and environmental groups who said that region of the province has borne the brunt of development, with more than 17,732 miles of pipelines, 28,143 miles of roads, and 72529 miles of seismic lines used for oil and gas already in place in the region, and the loss of 7,413 acres of prime farmland to the Site C dam simply cannot be tolerated.
Vancouver Sun; Dec. 13

Thousands expected at coal train hearing in Seattle today
The hearing hosted today in Seattle at the Washington State Convention Center is ostensibly about just one of the handful of shipping terminals in Washington and Oregon proposed to allow expansion of coal exports from Montana and Wyoming to Asia.
Seattle Times; Dec. 13

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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