Rockies Today, Nov. 15



Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Study tracks difficulty of Utah taking control of federal lands
A state study done on implementing HB148, which requires millions of acres of federal lands be transferred to Utah's control found that the process will be very complex, and recommendations made in the study include setting aside some land to be protected from development and taking steps to ensure millions of dollars of "payment in lieu of taxes" to counties continue.
Salt Lake Tribune; Nov. 15

BLM finishes analysis of Montana Hi-Line lands
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has identified 386,000 acres of lands it controls on Montana's Hi-Line as having wilderness characteristics, and 1.6 million acres of those 2.4-million acres as sage grouse habitat.
Great Falls Tribune; Nov. 15

Environmental coalition says Utah, Colorado rivers among most endangered
The Endangered Species Coalition, made up of hundreds of scientific, conservation, business and community organizations, released its list of the top endangered ecosystems that included the Colorado River and the Virgin River in Utah.
Salt Lake Tribune; Nov. 15

Colorado ranchers, hunters offer to buy Thompson Divide energy leases
The $25 million offered by ranchers and sportsmen to buy back energy leases on 220,000 acres in Colorado's Thompson Divide was what the companies paid for those leases a decade ago, but the companies rejected the offer and now negotiations are underway to find a fair price to get the companies to walk away from those leases.
Denver Post; Nov. 15

Montana county OKs funding for open space purchase
The Missoula County Commission voted 3-0 to approve funding for Five Valleys Land Trust to purchase land at the confluence of the Clark Fork River and Rock Creek, a blue-ribbon trout stream in western Montana.
Missoulian; Nov. 15

States have until Friday to make decision on health-care exchanges
Tomorrow is the deadline for states to tell the federal government whether they intend to run health-care exchanges required by the Affordable Care Act or if they want the federal government to do so, although states that prefer to operate the exchanges themselves have until Dec. 14 to provide the Department of Health and Human Services the details of their programs.
Idaho Statesman (McClatchy Newspapers); Nov. 15

Utah legislators want no part of health care exchanges
While some Republican governors are negotiating Friday's deadline for states to decide on whether they will run a health care exchange required by the Affordable Care Act or allow the federal government to set one up, Utah lawmakers have already made the decision that the Beehive State should not run, fund or participate in any health care exchange.
Salt Lake Tribune; Nov. 15

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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