Rockies Today, Dec. 18



Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Grizzly bears are denning up on Montana prairie
For the first time in a century, bear researchers have found that grizzly bears are denning up on the prairie in Montana, a discovery Chris Servheen, who leads the grizzly recovery program for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said is an indication of the recovery of the species in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem.
Great Falls Tribune; Dec. 18

Federal board approves BNSF's coal suppression requirement
In July of 2011, Burlington Northern Santa Fe put new rules in place for coal shipments, requiring the coal be loaded in a loaf shape and sprayed with suppressant to keep coal dust from fouling the tracks, and last week the federal Surface Transportation Board approved those rules.
Flathead Beacon (AP); Dec. 18

USFWS again extends comment period on protection of wolverines
A dispute on the reliability of conflicting research on wolverines was cited by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for its decision to extend by six months the public comment period on a proposal to put the elusive species under federal protection.
Missoulian; Dec. 18

Utah study finds Oregon pikas adapted to living lower
Biologists have been concerned about the effects of climate change on pikas, small, rabbit-like mammals that live primarily above 8,200 feet, but University of Utah researchers, who learned of pikas living in Oregon in the Columbia Gorge near sea level, have found that the pikas may be more adaptive than given credit, as that Oregon population appears to be thriving on low-nutrient moss.
Salt Lake Tribune; Dec. 18

Idaho DOT to hold meeting Thursday on 'megaload ramp' on I-90
The Idaho Department of Transportation will host a public meeting on Thursday in Coeur d'Alene on the proposal of Mammoet USA South, Inc. to build a temporary Interstate 90 on-ramp to facilitate the movement of three massive truckloads of equipment in January.
Coeur d'Alene Press; Dec. 18

Companies work to capture Bakken oil drilling byproduct
A lack of infrastructure to help capture and transport the natural gas that is produced along with the oil in North Dakota's Bakken formation means enough natural gas to heat one million homes is flared into the atmosphere each year, but General Electric and Statoil, the Norwegian oil giant, are working on a mobile device to capture the natural gas emissions, strip out valuable liquids like butane and propane, put those in tanks and then compress and store the gas in a box, and Burlington Northern Santa Fe is testing using natural gas instead of diesel in its locomotives.
New York Times; Dec. 18

Former U.S. Energy secretary on board of B.C. CO2-capture startup
British Columbia-based Inventys Thermal Technologies, which is working on new technology to capture carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, will announce today that former U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu will join its board.
New York Times; Dec. 18

U. of Wyoming researchers delve into increasing oil production
The University of Wyoming's School of Energy Resources Improved Oil and Gas Recovery program is researching ways to improve production of oil and gas trapped in shale formations as current technology accesses just a fraction of those resources.
Casper Star-Tribune; Dec. 18

Imperial Oil seeks permit for $7-billion oilsands project in NE Albera
A spokesman for Imperial Oil said its proposed Aspen project in northeastern Alberta will be the company's first major project to use steam-assisted gravity drainage technology, which uses steam to heat the bitumen in situ and collects the oil in a parallel producer well.
Calgary Herald; Dec. 18

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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