Rockies Today, March 21

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Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Montana researcher finds alarming levels of selenium in B.C.s Elk River
As part of a larger study on water quality in the Flathead River, University of Montana researcher Richard Hauer collected water samples from the Elk River in British Columbia, and found "selenium levels routinely 10-time-plus what we were observing in the Flathead. … Nitrate is 1,000 to 5,000 times higher; sulphate is a 100-fold increase,” and that the higher levels were directly attributable to coal mining in the Elk Valley.
Toronto Globe and Mail; March 21

Senate panel votes 19-3 to advance nomination of Jewell for Interior
The U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted 19-to-3 today to send President Barack Obama's nomination for Sally Jewell to be Interior secretary to the full Senate for a vote, with Utah Sen. Mike Lee, Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott casting votes against her confirmation.
Salt Lake Tribune; March 21

U.S. Supreme Court issues ruling on runoff from logging roads
The timber industry is celebrating the U.S. Supreme Court decision handed down on Wednesday that overturned a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling found active logging roads need Clean Water Act permits, similar to that needed by feedlots and factories.
Portland Oregonian; March 21

Utah governor lays out pros, cons for Nevada water pact in EskDale
On Wednesday, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert traveled to the Snake Valley to meet with residents in EskDale to discuss the proposed agreement with Nevada to share water in the basin, where he heard from both proponents and opponents of the water-sharing agreement and Nevada's plan to pipe water from that basin to Las Vegas.
Salt Lake Tribune; March 21

Wyoming reaches out to Colorado gun-magazine manufacturer
After Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill banning gun magazines that contain more than 15 rounds, gun-magazine manufacturer Magpul vowed to move to a more gun friendly state—and Wyoming is laying out the welcome mat.
Casper Star-Tribune; March 20

BLM extends public comment period on Idaho wilderness plan
At the request of the Owyhee County Commission, the Bureau of Land Management agreed to extend the public comment period on a draft management plan for six wilderness areas and 16 wild and scenic river segments in the Idaho county through May 31.
Twin Falls Times-News; March 21

Wyoming's 2012 wildfire season most expensive to date
The 2012 wildfire season in Wyoming racked up a $40-million tab, $30 million more than the next-most expensive wildfire season, and the Sheep Herder Hill Fire on Casper Mountain cost an estimated $5 million to fight.
Casper Star-Tribune; March 21

Company predicts Utah tar sands site could be producing oil this year
California-based MCW Energy Group said it plans to be processing ore mined by Temple Mountain Energy Inc. from a site on Utah's Asphalt Ridge near Vernal sometime this year, with predictions that the ore will produce 250 barrels of oil daily.
Salt Lake Tribune; March 21

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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