Rockies Today, Dec. 16

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Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Montana senator's Forest bill divides conservation groups
The "golden decade of conservation" predicted by former U.S. Forest Service Chief Jack Ward Thomas in 1997 hasn't completely come to pass, and Montana U.S. Sen. Jon Tester's Forest Jobs and Recreation Act, which is touted as a consensus bill has deeply divided conservation groups in Montana.
Great Falls Tribune; Dec. 16

Federal appeals court lifts emergency ban on horse slaughterhouses
The emergency ban put in place by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver in November was lifted by that court on Friday, although it will be several months before processing plants in New Mexico and Missouri could begin production, as the underlying litigation in which the emergency ban was put in place is still ongoing.
USA Today (AP); Dec. 15

Number of drilling rigs in Colorado's Denver-Julesburg basin up 50%
Energy companies drilling in Colorado's Denver-Julesburg basin believe the basin contains at least 3.8 billion barrels of oil, and in 2013, the top operators spent $4 billion ramping up drilling operations there, with plans to spend even more in 2014.
Denver Post; Dec. 16

Sheriffs in Colorado, other states refuse to enforce new gun-control laws
The sheriff in Weld County said Colorado's new law banning gun magazines that hold more than 15 rounds is unenforceable because it's impossible to tell legal magazines from illegal ones, and at least 55 of the 62 sheriffs in Colorado have joined a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of those laws.
New York Times; Dec. 16

Custer County residents want a voice in Idaho national monument debate
When Idaho U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson crafted his Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation, he had the interests of Custer County in mind, but the current discussion on designating the Boulder-White Cloud Mountains as a national monument has had little focus on the area east of those mountains.
Idaho Statesman; Dec. 15

USFS's plan to replace aging tanker fleet a slow process
As part of the Twin Falls Times-News series on wildfires and firefighting, the paper examines the U.S. Forest Service's aging air tanker fleet and how its plan to replace the planes is faring.
Twin Falls Times-News; Dec. 16

Canada, Alberta, oilsands industry discuss disposal of discharge water
Alberta has a zero discharge policy on water from oilsands operations, and with holding ponds containing a soup of hydrocarbons, silt, salts and heavy metals covering nearly 66 square miles in that Canadian province, industry officials are in talks with Alberta and the Canadian government about ultimate handling of the watery toxic blend.
Calgary Herald (Canadian Press); Dec. 16

End of Russian uranium exchange powers up Wyoming mine
After Russia declined to extend its uranium exchange program with the United States this year, which provided 10 percent of the uranium needed by U.S. nuclear power plants, Casper-based Ur-Energy was ready to step in and fill that void with uranium mined in Wyoming.
Casper Star-Tribune; Dec. 16

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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