Rockies Today, Feb. 5

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Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

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USFS proposes thinning project in Montana forest again
The original plan to thin an area in the Lewis and Clark National Forest in Montana near Benchmark to protect dozens of recreational cabins along a gateway to the Bob Marshall Wilderness in Montana was successfully appealed by two groups, but District Ranger Mike Munoz of the Rocky Mountain Ranger District said the importance of the project required the agency to try again and a revised plan will be released Thursday.
Great Falls Tribune; Feb. 5

Audit finds Canada's environmental protections lag during energy booms
Federal environment commissioner Scott Vaughan said a series of audits found that Canada's environmental regulations are not keeping up with the resource boom, and Vaughn specifically criticized the lack of a plan to deal with an oil spill off Canada's East Coast, and Ottawa's hands-off approach on regulating hydraulic fracturing.
Toronto Globe and Mail; Feb. 5

Wyoming mulls requiring oil, gas operators to do groundwater tests
Gov. Matt Mead is considering a regulation that would require oil and gas operators to conduct groundwater tests before they drill to help Wyoming regulators determine point-source contamination, and Mead is considering using Colorado's regulations as a template for the rules.
Casper Star-Tribune (AP); Feb. 5

Energy Secretary Steven Chu resigns
Among the potential candidates to replace Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who resigned on Friday, are former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter, former Washington state Gov. Chris Gregoire and Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman.
Washington Post; Feb. 1

U.S. job trends show highest, lowest skilled jobs to grow
Projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicate that, in the decade between 2010 and 2020, the fastest growing jobs will be in fields at the highest-skill level, e.g., biomedical engineers, college professors, and veterinarians, or in the lowest-skill level, e.g., cashiers, plumber's helpers; and that demand in health fields will remain high.
Christian Science Monitor; Feb. 5

Over past three decades, wages in Idaho have tumbled
In 1977, average wages in Idaho were 88 percent of the national average wage, but by 2010, the Gem State's average wage was just 76 percent of the average wage in the nation, due in part to the decline of the mining, forestry and agricultural industries, and the decision of the workers in those industries to stay in Idaho rather than follow the jobs.
Idaho Statesman; Feb. 5

Appeals court to hear arguments on Montana national monument plan
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments today in Seattle from the Bureau of Land Management and a number of groups that are challenging the BLM's management plan for the Upper Missouri Breaks National Monument in Montana.
Great Falls Tribune; Feb. 5

Idaho Senate panel grills nominee for state Fish and Game Commission
At her confirmation hearing before the Senate Resources and Conservation Committee, Idaho Fish and Game Commission nominee Joan Hurlock was criticized for being from California and for not getting fishing and hunting licenses each year for the 10 years she's lived in Idaho, and she was questioned extensively about her position on wolves, salmon, access to private property and ATV use.
Twin Falls Times-News; Feb. 5

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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