Rockies Today, June 20



Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Montana lumber co. offers development rights on parcel to land trust
The Trust for Public Lands is seeking funding to buy development rights on 3,000 acres of the Haskill Basin, which lie adjacent to beside Whitefish Mountain Resort on Big Mountain in Montana now owned by F.H. Stoltze Land and Lumber Co.
Flathead Beacon; June 20

Montana Supreme Court overturns ban on transfer of bison
On Wednesday, the Montana Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling that said a lower court erred when it stopped the transfer of bison from Yellowstone National Park to the Fort Belknap Reservation.
Great Falls Tribune (AP); June 20

Senate panel OKs bill to protect North Fork of Montana's Flathead River
On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted on a dozen public lands bills, including Montana U.S. Sen. Max Baucus' North Fork Watershed Protection Act, which was unanimously approved and will now advance to the full Senate for action.
Missoulian; June 20

Team from Montana, Wyoming, U.S., approve coal lease in Montana
Powder River Regional Coal Team, which is made up of officials from the federal government, Montana and Wyoming, unanimously approved Cloud Peak Energy's request to expand its Spring Creek Mine near Decker, Mont.
Casper Star-Tribune; June 20

Budget cuts, larger wildfires take a bite out of federal fire-reduction programs
Funding for the Hazardous Fuels Reduction Program, operated jointly by the Interior Department and the U.S. Forest Service, has been greatly reduced, by both mandated cuts and redirection of funds to fight large wildfires, and President Obama's proposed budget would reduce funding for the program by 31 percent.
Idaho Statesman (AP); June 20

Education official, Utah legislator square off on federal lands, road fight
Heather Bennett, a Salt Lake City school board member, and co-founder of a new group For Kids and Lands, told members of the Utah Legislature's Natural Resources Interim Committee that she believed the state's quest for federal lands and ownership of roads across federal lands was a "wild goose chase," that would not improve education funding at all, a stance that was immediately challenged by Rep. Mike Noel, who said Bennett was misinformed by conservation groups who cared less about kids than he did.
Salt Lake Tribune; June 19

Idaho county sets public hearing on federal-state plan for Silver Creek
The Blaine County Commission will hold a public hearing on June 25 in Hailey on the restoration plan for a stretch of Silver Creek near Picabo agreed to by Idaho water managers and federal engineers.
Twin Falls Times-News; June 20

EPA fines cement co. $2.5M for emissions violations in 9 states
Kansas-based Ash Grove Cement Co. was ordered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to pay $2.5-million in fines for emissions at its plants in nine states, including Idaho, Montana, Utah, Washington and Oregon, and to install $30-million in pollution controls at those plants.
Idaho Statesman (AP); June 20

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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