The Rockies Today, April 25



Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Yellowstone ecosystem grizzly experts debate new ways of counting bears
At a meeting last week of grizzly bear experts in the Yellowstone area, the current method of estimating bear populations was described as outmoded and inaccurate, and new methods of more accurately capturing bear numbers were debated.
Jackson Hole News & Guide; April 25

Canada's plan to revamp Fisheries Act could smooth pipeline's way
Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield said proposed changes to Canada's Fisheries Act, which would move regulation away from general protection of fish and habitat to more directed protection of specific species and waterways, could make it simpler for companies like Enbridge to get permits for major projects because some waterways across which pipelines would cross would no longer be designated as "vital" waterways.
Edmonton Journal; April 25

Lower natural gas prices deflate revenue for Canada's western provinces
FirstEnergy Capital Corp. released a study this week that said energy companies paid nearly half a billion dollars less to Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia so far this year for drilling rights than they did at this point last year, and the study linked the lower revenue to declining prices paid for natural gas.
Calgary Herald; April 25

Federal officials say Utah's proposed land grab a political stunt
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and U.S. Bureau of Land Management Bob Abbey recently criticized Utah's new law requiring the federal government return all public lands not designated as a national park or wilderness by 2014 or face a lawsuit, and Utah U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop called their criticism a "comedy routine."
Salt Lake Tribune; April 25

Conservation groups weigh in on Utah's pursuit of RS 2477 roads
The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and the Sierra Club are among the groups that released a map of roads Utah is claiming ownership using access rights granted by the federal government in 1866, charging that the state's pursuit of ownership of the roads is a waste of money.
Deseret News; April 25

County commissioners from 3 western states oppose oilshale plan
At a meeting in Vernal Tuesday, county commissioners from Utah, Wyoming and Colorado spoke out against the Bureau of Land Management's decision to reduce by 75 percent the acres of federal lands available for oilshale and tar sands research.
Deseret News; April 25

Nevada drought may force emergency roundups of wild horses
The Bureau of Land Management had planned to ease off on rounding up and removing wild horses from ranges in Nevada and other western states, but drought has already dried up water resources in some areas of Nevada, and emergency roundups may be necessary.
Deseret News (AP); April 25

Western Energy Alliance heads to D.C. to lobby for less regulation
The Western Energy Alliance represents hundreds of companies engaged in energy development in the western states, and this week members of the group are headed to Washington D.C. to convince federal lawmakers and regulators that the energy industry needs less, not more, regulations.
Billings Gazette; April 25

Supporters of Montana wilderness bill question Rehberg's recent interest
Last weekend, Montana U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg held a listening session on the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act sponsored by U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, and members of the Coalition to Protect the Rocky Mountain Front are wondering just where the Republican congressman was during the six years groups were meeting to hash out details of the legislation, and why now he appears to be hunting for reasons not to support the bill.
Great Falls Tribune; April 25

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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