Rockies Today, Dec. 5

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Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Federal, Montana bills tackle issue of access to public lands
Expanding access to public lands is a hot issue at both the federal and state level, with two bills pending in the U.S. Senate, the Sportsmen's and Public Outdoor Recreation Traditions Act, co-sponsored by Montana Sen. Jon Tester, and the Hunt Unrestricted on National Treasures Act, and the Unlocking State Lands Program in Montana, which passed this year that provides a $500 tax credit to landowners that provide access across their property to adjacent state lands.
Great Falls Tribune; Dec. 5

Montana county, city officials share rail traffic concerns with GAO
As part of a study requested by Montana Sen. Max Baucus, the chairman of the Transportation Subcommittee of the Committee on Environment and Public Works, officials of the Government Accountability Office held a conference call with officials from Billings and Yellowstone County to discuss the effects increased coal and oil train traffic is having in the city and county.
Billings Gazette; Dec. 5

Idaho's plan to claim federal lands gets mixed reaction at hearing
The Idaho Legislature's Federal Lands Interim Committee held its first public hearing on Wednesday on the state's plan to demand control over 32 millions of acres of federal land, with tea party groups expressing their support for the plan.
Idaho Statesman; Dec. 5

Montana council seeks public comment on overgrown hunting permit system
Jeff Welborn, a state legislator from Dillon and the chairman of the Montana Licensing and Funding Advisory Council, said he's well aware of why the state's hunting permit system has grown so unwieldy as he's voted to create some of those special permits, but now the council is taking a hard look at the complicated system and is taking public comment on the 100 or so hunting and fishing license options.
Missoulian; Dec. 5

Utah Air Quality Board signs off on Wasatch Front plan
On Wednesday, the Utah Air Quality Board made a few tweaks to its draft state implementation plan, or SIP, and signed off on the final version to improve air quality in the winter along the Wasatch Front by 2019, a six-year timeline that activists said puts Utahns' health at risk for too long.
Salt Lake Tribune; Dec. 5

Denver firm seeks eagle kill permit for Wyoming wind project
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has never granted an eagle "take" permit to a wind project yet, but a recent clarification by the federal agency to its guidelines that allows wind-generation projects to kill a limited number of eagles each year has generated a number of such applications to do so, including one from Colorado-based Power Company of Wyoming for its planned Chokecherry-Sierra Madre wind farm in Wyoming's Carbon County.
Casper Star-Tribune; Dec. 5

Electricity from renewable resources threatens U.S. power grid
As more electricity from wind, solar and other renewable energies flow into the U.S. power grid, experts work to find ways to seamlessly move that power from where its generated to where it's needed on a grid that wasn't set up to handle such situations.
Los Angeles Times; Dec. 2

FDA says Idaho knew of tainted yogurt months before illness outbreak
A U.S. Food and Drug Administration report obtained by the Twin Falls Times-News said that a routine inspection of Chobani's Greek yogurt plant in Twin Falls by the Idaho Department of Agriculture found mold two months before the company voluntary recalled product that sickened at least 300 people.
Twin Falls Times-News; Dec. 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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