Rockies Today, Sept. 4

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Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Montana senator among those critical of delay in Keystone XL decision
The inspector general's investigation into the U.S. State Department's selection of third-party contractor, Environmental Resources Management, to review the Keystone XL pipeline proposal, will likely not be complete until January, pushing the State Department's decision on the Alberta-to-Texas pipeline project into 2014, a delay that sparked harsh criticism from Montana U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, and North and South Dakota Sens. John Hoeven and John Thune.
Edmonton Journal (Canadian Press); Sept. 4

Cooling coal prices fuels debate over proposed Northwest ports
This summer, the price for exported coal has fallen 40 percent, putting some planned terminals in Australia on hold, and raising new questions about export terminals proposed on Washington state's coast to ship Montana and Wyoming to overseas markets.
Seattle Times; Sept. 4

Changes in elk numbers drive new objectives in Idaho's plan
Poor habitat and high predation are driving elk numbers in the Lolo and Selway zones in Idaho down, and the state's new objectives for those zones call for culling of wolves.
Billings Gazette (Lewiston Tribune); Sept. 4

Environment Canada launches investigation into bitumen spill in Alberta
Alberta's environmental department and the Alberta Energy Regulator are already investigating leaks of bitumen from an in situ oilsands operation on the federal Cold Lake Air Weapons Range in the province, and this week, Environment Canada announced it would conduct its own investigation.
Edmonton Journal; Sept. 4

U.S. House Natural Resource Committee meets today in Wyoming
Wyoming U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis is hosting a field hearing today in Casper of the U.S. House Natural Resource Committee, with lawmakers from Montana, Colorado and Washington expected to attend and take testimony on "State and Local Efforts to Protect Species, Jobs, Property, and Multiple Use Amidst a New War on the West."
Casper Star-Tribune; Sept. 4

Groups in Alberta launch campaign to phase out coal-fired power
The Asthma Society of Canada, The Lung Association and Canadian Association of Physicians and the Environment have teamed up to urge Alberta to phase out coal-fired power.
Edmonton Journal; Sept. 4

Law enforcement again divides Utah town, tribe
In 1997-98, the Ute Tribe called for a boycott of businesses in the Utah community of Roosevelt because of a dispute over law-enforcement jurisdiction, and after an increase in complaints that state, county and municipal law enforcement officers are habitually harrassing tribal members, Ute leaders on Friday again called for tribal members to boycott businesses in Roosevelt.
Deseret News; Sept. 4

Colorado-grown marijuana making its way into neighboring states
U.S. Postal inspectors said the number of packages seized containing marijuana mailed from Colorado increased from 15 in all of 2010 to 209 in the first five months of this year, and law enforcement officials said seizures of Colorado-grown cannabis have increased as well, which could be a problem, given that the federal government has said it won't try to change Colorado's law legalizing the recreational use of marijuana unless illegal trafficking increases.
Denver Post; Sept. 4

Heavy rains send cascade of mud downhill from burned area in Idaho
The 111,490-acre Beaver Creek Fire that forced hundreds of people from their homes near Hailey and Ketchum continues to bedevil Idaho residents as heavy rains caused mudslides, burying some roads with an 18-inch layer of mud.
Twin Falls Times-News; Sept. 4

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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