The Rockies Today, Dec. 8



Top news links, courtesy of Headwaters News.

Montana riverbed dispute takes historical turn before U.S. Supreme Court
The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments between the state of Montana and PPL Montana over a dispute on riverbed rental for the utility's hydroelectric dams, and a good portion of the debate on Wednesday focused on whether the rivers on which the hydroelectric dams were located were navigable, with seven historians weighing in on the debate.
Great Falls Tribune (AP); Dec. 8

Federal agency orders BPA to rewrite its rules on wind energy
Earlier this year, a powerful Pacific storm created an excess of hydro- and wind-generated electricity on Bonneville Power Administration's system, so BPA unplugged wind generators, and were subsequently sued, and on Wednesday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ordered the BPA to find a better way to deal with excess power than shutting down wind farms.
New York Times; Dec. 8

Idaho senator questions USFS change on ski resort's water rights
Idaho U.S. Sen. Jim Risch is among a group of Northwest senators questioning the U.S. Forest Service's proposed permit change that would put the agency in charge of water rights now held by ski resorts.
Twin Falls Times-News; Dec. 8

Climate change a component of court's ruling on grizzly bears
The recent decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to order grizzly bears remain under federal protection was rooted in the bears' loss of a primary food source due to a changing climate that killed whitebark pine in the Yellowstone region, opening the door for other such climate-related arguments in species protection lawsuits.
Christian Science Monitor; Dec. 7

Wyoming national forest issues guide permit for ice-climbing
The Shoshone National Forest issued a temporary permit good between Nov. 1 and April 1 to Jackson Hole Mountain Guides to lead ice-climbing trips on the Wapiti Ranger District of the national forest in Wyoming.
Billings Gazette; Dec. 8

Fire at natural gas compressor station impedes production in Wyoming
A fire that started Tuesday at the Falcon compressor station in southwest Wyoming shut down a key part of the system that collects and sends natural gas produced in that part of the state to market, and producers are now trying to find other ways to get their natural gas out of the state.
Casper Star-Tribune; Dec. 8

Report on corporate taxes paid ignites debate in Utah
After the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) and Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ) released a report "Corporate Tax Dodging in the Fifty States, 2008-2010," the Voices for Utah Children studied the report and said that dozens of the corporations named in the report had paid less than 1 percent in taxes on profits in Utah in violation of the statutory requirement of 5 percent, but Royce Van Tassell, vice-president of the Utah Taxpayers Association, and the ITEP report ignored the fact that corporate profits are paid out in the form of dividends to stockholders, who then pay taxes on that income.
Salt Lake Tribune; Dec. 8

Sierra Club joins fight to stop Utah strip coal mine near Bryce Canyon
At the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's fifth and final hearing on a proposal to lease land near Bryce Canyon National Park to a coal mining company operating a strip coal mine on adjacent lands, Bruce Hamilton, deputy executive director for the Sierra Club, warned that the environmental group would sue the BLM if it moves forward with the lease.
Durango Herald (AP); Dec. 8

Headwaters 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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