The Rockies Today, Feb. 23



Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Editor's note: Headwaters News is now Mountain West News.

U.S. Supreme Court ruling on riverbed rents sends case back to Montana
The unanimous decision rendered by the U.S. Supreme Court that overturned a Montana Supreme Court decision that said PPL Montana owed the state millions of dollars in rent for the riverbeds on which the utility's hydroelectric dams sit isn't the final word on the dispute, as the ruling sends the case back to Montana to determine if the stretches of the Missouri, Madison and Clark Fork rivers meet the court's defined standard of navigable.
Helena Independent Record;

BLM's auction of 13 oil, gas parcels in southeastern Utah nets $523,000
Oil and gas leases on 13 parcels covering 12,195 acres in southeastern Utah were auctioned by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management this week, and no protests were filed on any of the leases, due to what the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance said was the BLM's new approach to such leases.
Salt Lake Tribune;

Idaho congressman urges Legislature to abandon wolf bill
After the Idaho Senate Resources and Environment Committee voted 7-2 to advance Sen. Jeff Siddoway's bill, which would allow anyone who lost a pet or livestock to wolves to use live bait to attract wolves, shoot them from airplanes or use night scopes to hunt wolves within 36 hours of the loss, U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson appealed to legislators to give the state's plan time to work as Siddoway's bill would surely invite lawsuits should it pass.
Idaho Statesman;

Dispute over Idaho mine cleanup puts focus on selenium pollution
J.R. Simplot Co.'s study done to support the mining company's request to raise the amount of allowable selenium levels at a former phosphate mine in Idaho contained pictures of two-headed trout, and has sparked a debate about allowable selenium levels and whether the federal standard in place should be lowered.
New York Times;

Colorado coalition offers $2.5M to retire Thompson Divide energy leases
The Thompson Divide Coalition, made up of environmentalists, ranchers and local governments offered $2.5 million to retire oil and gas leases in a region of the White River and Gunnison national forests in Colorado known as the Thompson Divide Area.
Denver Post;

Montana researchers track snowshoe hares' in a changing climate
Snowshoe hares depend on blending into their environment to stay alive, with their coats changing from brown to white to brown over the course of their short lives, but with snowcover days decreasing, the animals' ability to blend in is as well, and researchers in Montana are studying the hares to see if their coat changes are adapting to fewer snowy days.
Missoula Independent (High Country News);

Alberta official: Hydraulic fracturing disclosure rules on the way
As the use of hydraulic fracturing, a drilling method that uses water, sand and a mixture of chemicals introduced underground under high pressure to crack open rock formations holding oil and gas captive, increases in Alberta, officials are working on regulations that would require companies to disclose just what chemicals they use in the drilling, and those rules will be in place by year's end.
Calgary Herald;

Eagle County first to sign landmark water agreement in Colorado
Forty entities have agreed on the terms of the Colorado River Cooperative Agreement, which addresses water issues in the state from the Continental Divide to the Utah border, but Eagle County is the first to put its signature on the document.
Vail Daily (Eagle Valley Enterprise);

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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