Rockies Today, March 27

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Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

U.S. House passes Utah congressman's bill on Antiquities Act
The U.S. House voted 222-201 on Wednesday to approve Utah Rep. Rob Bishop's bill that would amend the Antiquities Act to require any national monument designation proposed by the president to go through an environmental analysis and public comment period.
Flathead Beacon (AP); March 27

BIA, Anschutz at odds on status of oil, gas leases on Montana reservation
The Bureau of Indian Affairs said that Denver-based Anschutz Exploration Corp. owes 200 leaseholders on the Blackfeet Reservation a total of $418,264 for work the Colorado company did on those leases, but company officials said the leases were withdrawn before being signed by the BIA — and thus, no money is owed.
Great Falls Tribune; March 27

Judge upholds USFS's plan in Idaho to reduce grazing to save bighorn
On Tuesday, Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge A. Wallace Tashima, sitting by designation for the District of Idaho, issued a decision that upholds the U.S. Forest Service's plan to reduce grazing by 70 percent in the Payette National Forest in Idaho to protect bighorn sheep from contracting diseases from domestic sheep.
Idaho Statesman (AP); March 27

As snow blankets areas of Colorado, plains dry out
Colorado Springs usually gets around 8 inches of snow in March, but with just four days left in the month, a sparse 2.8 inches have fallen, and a grass fire Wednesday evening in southern El Paso County that quickly burned 100 acres is an indication of the dry conditions in that part of Colorado.
Colorado Springs Gazette; March 27

Hikers report oil spill in national monument in Utah
Bureau of Land Management officials said the nearly 4-mile long oil spill reported by hikers in the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in Utah could be years' old, and is the second such incident the agency is investigating from the Upper Valley oil field, operated by Citation Oil and Gas Corp.
Salt Lake Tribune; March 27

Census estimates show population booms in Utah's energy-rich areas
The estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau found the oil boom in Utah's Uinta Basin put Duchesne County second in the nation in percentage of population growth, while Vernal was the sixth-fastest growing "micropolitan" areas, defined as communities with populations between 10,000 and 50,000.
Salt Lake Tribune; March 27

Study: Colorado, Utah among least dependent on federal government
A study released Wednesday by the personal financial social website WalletHub that ranked states on the return on taxes paid to the federal government, percentage of state revenue from federal funding, and per capita number of federal employees, ranked Delaware least dependent, Nevada eighth, Colorado 10th, Utah tied with Nebraska at 14th, Idaho ranked 31st, Wyoming tied with Florida at 38th, and Montana tied with Maine for 46th.
Salt Lake Tribune; March 27

Rocky Mountain Power announces plan to build solar farm in Utah
Among the 13 western states, Utah ranks above only Hawaii and Alaska in installed renewable-energy generation plants, but solar-generation is gaining a toehold in the Beehive State, with Provo-based Energy Capital Group's announcement last fall that it would build a 300-megawatt solar plant near Delta, and Wednesday's announcement that Rocky Mountain Power is proposing to build a solar farm large enough to generate enough power for 500 homes.
Salt Lake Tribune; March 27

Law adds promotion of coal to Wyoming Infrastructure Authority's duties
Legislation that adds promotion of coal resources to the duties of the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority is now law, and while Gov. Matt Mead said the championing of coal exports is a good fit for the agency charged with expanding the Cowboy State's economy through development of its power transmission system, some question the ties the author of the bill, Rep. David Miller, has to the coal industry.
Casper Star-Tribune; March 27

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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