Rockies Today, July 8



Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Pricing of coal in western U.S. focus of U.S. House hearing
On Tuesday, the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee will delve into the price the federal government gets for coal mined in the western United States, with Republicans in control of the panel planning to highlight the benefits of that fuel, and Democrats pushing to determine if the bidding process for coal leases is truly competitive.
Flathead Beacon (AP); July 8

GAO report finds 75% of USFS trails need work
Idaho U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, Wyoming U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis and Virginia U.S. Rep. Jim Moran requested an investigation into maintenance of trails on U.S. Forest Service lands and the Government Accountability Office report released late last month found only 25 percent of those trails met the agency's own standards.
Missoulian; July 7

EnergyWire tracks thousands of spills, incidents at oil, gas sites in the U.S.
A months-long investigation into federal and state databases that track spills and other occurrences at oil and gas drilling sites in the United States found that 6,000 such incidents that spilled 15.6 million gallons of oil, fracking fluid, wastewater and other liquids occurred at onshore drilling sites in 2012.
Environment and Energy Daily; July 8

Critics say EPA backing away from regulating drilling industry
The decision of the Environmental Protection Agency to hand over its investigation into the cause of groundwater contamination near Pavillion to Wyoming is just one of a number of decisions that critics said reflect the agency's backing away from regulating drilling operations, but industry officials said the agency's decisions indicate its over-reach in the past.
High Country News; July 8

Colorado begins work on air pollution regulations for energy operations
Oil and gas operations in Colorado emit at least 600 tons of contaminants into the air each day and are the third-largest source of nitrogen oxides, prompting the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to propose air-quality regulations for that industry.
Denver Post; July 8

Idaho group challenges BLM's plan in Nevada
The Western Watersheds Project filed a lawsuit in federal court in Idaho challenging the Bureau of Land Management's plan to remove sagebrush, pinion pines and junipers on 145,000 acres in Northern Nevada.
Idaho Statesman (AP); July 8

Price for share of N. Colorado water project doubles in 6 months
Regional water experts said the sharp increase in the price of a share of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project in northern Colorado was due in part to farmers' new reluctance to part with their water shares.
Denver Post (Greeley Tribune); July 8

Research continues into beetle-killed timber's role in West's wildfires
As wildfires burn through beetle-killed forests in the western United States, researchers are investigating if swaths of such dead timber are causing hotter, fiercer fires, but results are mixed.
Boulder Daily Camera (I-News at Rocky Mountain PBS); July 8

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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