Plugging abandoned wells becomes a priority in Wyoming
The shale gas boom in other areas of the United States has shut down hundreds of natural gas wells in Wyoming, and the state is finding that many of those wells are "orphan wells," in that the companies that drilled them are no longer in existence, leaving the state with the cost and task of cleaning them up.
New York Times; Dec. 26
Montana again rejects Ravalli County's attempt to block USFS water claim
Under a 2007 agreement with Montana, the U.S. Forest has filed for junior water rights on 100 streams that flow through national forest lands in the state, including 15 in the Bitterroot National Forest, and Ravalli County has contested four of those filings, with the state rejecting each of those objections because the county has no standing to challenge them.
Ravalli Republic; Dec. 26
Analysis paints different picture of Idaho taking over federal lands
The Idaho Conservation League released an economic analysis done by a Wilderness Society economist with a Ph.D. from Northern Arizona University's School of Forestry that said the cumulative cost of Idaho taking control over most of the federal government's lands within its borders would be $2 billion over 20 years, while the analysis done by the state Department of Lands earlier this year said the state could reap between $51 million and $75 million annually in net revenue from managing those lands.
Idaho Mountain Express (Sun Valley); Dec. 26
Boom in retail fur industry brings bigger paychecks for Montana trappers
Fur is making its way back into the fashion industry, particularly in Russia, China and Korea, and the increase in demand for fur is fattening up the price Montana trappers are getting for pelts.
Missoulian; Dec. 26
Casper firm completes deal to buy two idled uranium mines in Wyoming
The owner of the in-situ Lost Creek uranium mine in Wyoming, Ur-Energy, announced it had completed a deal to buy two idled uranium mines in that state, with plans to get the Shirley Basin and Lucky Mc mines up and running within the next three years.
Casper Star-Tribune; Dec. 26
Beetles, Firewise program changes the views in Colorado
When pine-bark beetles first chewed their way into Colorado's forests, some communities declared the dead trees left behind a "public nuisance" and required their removal, but as the beetles' infestation grew to millions of acres, communities began to adopt "firewise" policies that encouraged residents in fire-prone areas to take a neighborhood approach to reducing fuels and making homes more defensible.
Vail Daily; Dec. 26
Federal data: Recent recession worst in years for Colorado, Wyoming, Utah
The Denver branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City reports that while Colorado, Wyoming and Utah had largely managed to escape the effects of post-World War II recessions, the 2007-2009 recession hit those three states hard, with employment rates falling more than 6 percent in all those states during those years.
Denver Post; Dec. 26
Colorado smashes record for number of gun background checks this year
December is usually the busiest month of the year for gun sales, and with that month's numbers still not added up, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation reported 354,880 completed background checks done through November, exceeding the 335,940 completed in all of 2012, and one reason for the increase is a new law that requires background checks on private sales of firearms.
Boulder Daily Camera (CU News Corp); Dec. 26
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.