Rockies Today, September 8



Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

NW Montana city seeks say on proposed coal railroad
The Whitefish City Council asked the State Transportation Board to hold a hearing in that northwest Montana community on the proposed Tongue River Railroad in southeast Montana to move Otter Creek coal to market, but a spokesman for Burlington Northern Santa Fe, which is a co-owner of the project, said very few coal trains would move through Whitefish and should not be a concern for that community.
Flathead Beacon; Sept. 8

Yellowstone NP to launch lottery for private snowmobile trips Wednesday
Under Yellowstone National Park's winter-use plan, snowmobiling without a guide will be allowed once again, with permits for parties of up to five snowmachines through each of the park's four entrances each day to be issued via a lottery system that begins on Wednesday.
Jackson Hole Daily; Sept. 8

Utah judge orders Park City Mountain Resort to post $17.5M bond
If Park City Mountain Resort wants to operate this upcoming ski season, it must post a $17.5-million bond by the end of this week, or Talisker Land Holdings Inc. can begin evicting the resort from 2,852 acres of upper mountain ski terrain.
Salt Lake Tribune; Sept. 6

Ranking of B.C. tailings pond dam questioned after failure
Imperial Metals' Mount Polley tailings dam carried a "significant" safety ranking from the B.C. Ministry of Energy and Mines, which is second-lowest in the failure ranking, behind "extreme," "very high" and "high," and above "low," which meant the dam had to undergo a critical review by an independent engineer every 10 years.
Vancouver Sun; Sept. 8

Utah tells BLM to come get 1,100 wild horses at prison training program
The Utah Department of Corrections said a funding dispute with the Bureau of Land Management over the program at the prison in Gunnison where inmates trained wild horses, and gave the BLM 30 days to remove the 1,100 wild horses currently in the program.
Durango Herald (AP); Sept. 8

Wyoming Oil, Gas Commission proposes increase in setbacks
The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission will unveil a proposal to increase the current 350-setback from drilling rigs and dwellings to 500 feet between occupied buildings and vertical rigs and 750 feet for horizontal rigs.
Casper Star-Tribune; Sept. 8

Utah ranchers ask SITLA not to sell Wayne County lands for prairie dogs
In a deal similar to last year's in Garfield County, the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) is contemplating selling 800 acres of land in Wayne County to The Nature Conservancy for $1 million dollars to protect prairie dog and sage grouse habitat, but Wayne County ranchers are resisting the deal, saying the land already provides safe harbor for the burrowing rodents without any restrictions that The Nature Conservancy may impose.
Salt Lake Tribune; Sept. 8

Debate about preservation of Utah's Canyonlands heats up
It's been 50 years since Canyonlands National Park was created in Utah, and the push to protect an additional 2 million or so acres of the geologic formations as a national monument continues to build.
Salt Lake Tribune; Sept. 8

Montana counties with resource plans get seat at federal planning table
The federal government has a large footprint in some Montana counties like Beaverhead County, where the federal government owns nearly 70 percent of all the land within that county, and across the state, counties have developed resource management plans that give them a seat at the table when the federal government makes decisions about management of its lands.
Missoulian; Sept. 6

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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