Rockies Today, June 19



Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Montana researchers come up with a new way to count wolves
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks' requirement to provide minimum wolf counts to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service expires in two years, and researchers from the state wildlife agency and the University of Montana have developed a new statistical technique to come up with wolf numbers.
Helena Independent Record; June 18

Number of oil trains passing through W. Montana city triples
In 2013, Montana Rail Link officials said eight oil trains carrying Bakken oil had passed through Missoula, a number that had already tripled by the first of June this year, and Missoula Fire Department is sending firefighters to a special training session in Colorado in July to learn how to deal with an accident involving oil tankers. Editor's note: This article contains a good, indepth roundup of the ongoing track vs. tankcar debate currently underway between rail carriers and oil producers.
Missoula Independent; June 19

Federal transportation officials said U.S. oil train info can be made public
Railroads pushed back on the U.S. Transportation Department order to make information about oil train routes and volumes and asked states to sign nondisclosure agreements about those details, a move some states, including Montana, resisted, and on Wednesday, the U.S. Transportation Department said that such information was not security sensitive and could be disclosed.
Casper Star-Tribune (AP); June 19

USFS releases updated over-snow travel management plan
Snowmobiling groups applauded the U.S. Forest Service's proposed update of its over-snow travel management plan that keeps access decisions at the local level, but Winter Wildlands Alliance, the Idaho-based group that filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service in 2005 over its management of over-snow travel said the plan did nothing to address inconsistencies found in the previous plan.
Missoulian; June 19

BLM declines to renew law enforcement pacts with Utah counties
Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, who once served as a Sanpete County commissioner, told members of the state Legislature's Interim Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's decision to not renew law enforcement agreements with local sheriffs in the state was in retribution for Utah's efforts to exert local control over federal lands.
Salt Lake Tribune; June 19

American Bird Conservancy to file lawsuit over eagle deaths at wind farms
A lawsuit is expected to be filed today in federal court in California by the American Bird Conservancy over the federal government's decision to extend the takings proposal for wind farms for eagles and other raptors from a five-year period to a 30-year period.
Salt Lake Tribune (AP); June 19

Oil, gas work credited for Colorado county's top job growth
A report released Thursday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said that Weld County's 6 percent increase in jobs between December 2012 and December 2013, put the Colorado county first in the nation in job growth at a time when the national average was 1.8 percent.
Denver Post; June 19

Utah proposes expanding Goblin State Park into San Rafael Swell
When the federal government shut down last October, visitors shut out of Utah's national parks and monuments found Goblin Valley State Park to their liking, and now Utah State Park officials are proposing expanding the 3,500-acre state park across an additional 132,500 acres of the San Rafael Swell, a proposal that will need the approval of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
Salt Lake Tribune; June 19

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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