Building boom underway in Montana city
Through the end of November, Billings had issued permits for nearly $395 million in commercial and residential projects, a 64 percent increase over permits issued in 2012, with seven hotels and motels among those projects approved that will add 500 rooms in the Montana city.
Billings Gazette; Dec. 30
For Montana miners, copper up, gold down in 2013
In 2013, a Canadian company hoping to reopen the Drumlummon mine in Montana's Lewis and Clark County walked away from its plan because the price of gold fell below the threshold needed by U.S. Silver and Gold to reopen the mine, while copper's continued strong price ignited Tintina Alaska Exploration Inc.'s interest in opening a copper mine near White Sulphur Springs.
Helena Independent Record; Dec. 30
Montana county awaits return of mining
Revett Minerals' Troy Mine has been shut down for more than a year after landslides forced the company to find a new route to the copper and silver ore in the underground mine, while Mines Management, Inc.'s Montanore Mine is slowing grinding through nearly a decade of environmental reviews, as well as recent litigation over ownership of the entrance to the copper and silver mine, and for Lincoln County, which has the highest unemployment rate in Montana, the hundreds of the jobs those mines would provide, can't come soon enough.
Flathead Beacon; Dec. 30
Nature Conservancy celebrates 1 million acres protected in Montana
At the close of 2013, The Nature Conservancy announced that the nonprofit has had a hand in protecting 1,004,308 acres in Montana from future development, with nearly half of those acres in Western Montana.
Great Falls Tribune; Dec. 30
Montana county makes it clear: Firefighters not required to save homes
The resolution passed by the Lewis and Clark County Commission says that firefighters are not required to put themselves at risk to save homes built in the wildland-urban interface from wildfires, putting the onus for establishing a defensible space on such homes in the Montana county on the homeowners.
Missoulian; Dec. 30
BLM seeks public comment on oil, gas expansion in Utah's Uintah Basin
Utah’s largest crude oil producer, Newfield Exploration Co., is seeking approval of a plan to add 5,750 new oil and gas wells over 16 years to its existing field in the Uintah Basin, which would require the building of 170 miles of new roads, and the Bureau of Land Management will take public comment on the project through Feb. 4.
Salt Lake Tribune; Dec. 30
Denver International Airport bans marijuana possession
With adults' use of recreational marijuana due to become legal across Colorado on Jan. 1, Denver International Airport became the first facility in that Colorado City to ban the possession of marijuana, which it has standing to do.
Denver Post; Dec. 30
Cheap natural gas, renewable-energy mandates rework U.S. power markets
States' mandates requiring a certain percentage of electricity be generated by solar, wind or other renewable forms of energy, along with drastically lower natural gas prices are shutting down nuclear power plants in the United States, and a Montana Public Service commissioner says requiring a more distributed system of siting wind farms would help address that energy source's "all on or all off" problem.
New York Times; Dec. 30
2013 was a magical year for Idaho's Magic Valley
Between November of 2012 and the same month this year, $800 million of industrial projects have been started or announced in Idaho's Magic Valley, a considerable achievement for an area with 200,000 people.
Twin Falls Times-News; Dec. 30
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.