Rockies Today, Feb. 21



Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Study finds toxins from oilsands holding ponds leaching into Alberta river
Scientists with Environment Canada were able to differentiate the chemicals that come from naturally occurring bitumen in Alberta's oilsands county from chemicals from containment ponds at oilsands operations, and the study, accepted for publication in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, found that chemicals from tailings ponds are leaching into groundwater and was reaching the Athabasca River, although the study did not quantify the amount of water that was escaping containment.
Toronto Globe and Mail; Feb. 21

BNSF Railway announces plans to upgrade tanker fleet
On Thursday, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway officials announced that the railroad had ordered 5,000 railcars built to address safety flaws in earlier models, but with a two-year backlog at manufacturers of such railcars, the older-model cars won't likely be retired soon.
Flathead Beacon (AP); Feb. 21

Zion National Park releases plan for management of wild, scenic Utah river
After Congress designated 169 miles of the Virgin River and its tributaries in Utah as Wild and Scenic Waterways in 2009, Zion National Park began developing a management plan for the 144 miles of the river that flow through the park, with stretches of that river falling in each of the three classifications under the federal law: Wild, Scenic and Recreational.
Salt Lake Tribune; Feb. 21

Union, food safety group say shortage of meat inspectors put consumers at risk
Last week's recall of nearly nine million pounds of beef processed at a plant in California was cited by a food safety group and a union as a reflection of the national shortage of federal meat inspectors, which is spreading inspectors too thin and not allowing for adequate inspection of processing plants.
New York Times; Feb. 21

Another trio of megaloads poised to trek through Montana
The next trio of megaloads, these bound for a refinery in Great Falls rather than Alberta's oilsands country, are the largest such truckloads of equipment to travel through Montana, with the first load sitting at Idaho's Port of Lewiston.
Missoulian; Feb. 21

BLM reports theft of ancient dinosaur track from Utah site
Someone took a 190-million-year old dinosaur track from a site in Utah near a popular trail in the Hells River area, and the Bureau of Land Management is seeking information on the theft.
Deseret News; Feb. 21

USFS chief touts collaborative projects at Idaho conference
On Wednesday, U.S. Forest Service Tom Tidwell, as well as members of Idaho's congressional delegation, attended a conference on collaboration by the Idaho Forest Restoration Partnership, where they heard that nine collaborative agreements have helped put 130 million board feet of timber into the pipeline, and how an area thinned by just such a project provided firefighters a safe place to work during the 2012 Mustang Complex Fire.
Idaho Statesman; Feb. 21

Idaho county grants permit for beef-processing plant near Burley
On Thursday, the Cassia County planning and zoning commission unanimously approved a conditional-use permit for Allan Ward 7 Brothers Meat to operate a beef-processing plant on 20 acres southwest of Burley.
Twin Falls Times News; Feb. 21

FTC sues 14 online companies in Utah, charging consumer fraud
The Federal Trade Commission has sued 14 Utah-based companies, charging that their various "work-at-home" enterprises yielded little but massive credit card debt to those who purchased the kits, and on Feb. 11, U.S. District Court Judge Dee Benson issued a temporary restraining order, freezing the assets of all the companies and individuals named in the complaint.
Salt Lake Tribune; Feb. 21

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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