Rockies Today, Dec. 21



Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Landowners protest Montana's buy of Milk River Ranch by ending access
About 17 landowners in Hill County, angered by the Montana State Lands Board to purchase the Milk River Ranch, have announced that they are closing a collective 50,000 acres of their lands to hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities.
Billings Gazette (AP); Dec. 21

Push is on to raise final $750K needed for Wyoming oil, gas lease buyout
Houston-based Plains Exploration and Production owns some of the oil and gas leases exempted from the 2010 Wyoming Range Legacy Act, and the Trust for Public Land struck a $8.75-million deal with the Texas company to buy out and retire those leases, but the Dec. 31 deadline is looming and there is still $750,000 to raise.
Denver Post (AP); Dec. 21

Energy board finds hydraulic fracturing fluid in Alberta groundwater
The Energy Resources Conservation Board's investigation of an incident near Grand Prairie found that the release of hydraulic fracturing fluid from a well drilled by Calgary-based Crew Energy was released at too shallow a level and the company then failed to notice that the leak was contaminating groundwater.
Edmonton Journal; Dec. 21

Coalspur Mines lines up investors for Alberta coal mine
EIG Global Energy Partners (EIG) pledged $300 million to Coalspur Mines to begin the first phase of a coal mine in Alberta near Hinton, with plans to ship the coal produced to Asia, and the company is in talks with other potential investors.
Edmonton Journal; Dec. 21

B.C. biologist warns run-of-river hydro project threatens grizzly bears
Scott Barrett, ecosystems section head with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, said that the three-pronged run-of-river hydro project in the Upper Lillooet River Valley in southwestern British Columbia puts two already-at-risk grizzly bear populations at further peril.
Vancouver Sun; Dec. 21

USFS, Montana trappers work together to keep traps from ski trails
After cross-country skiers expressed concerns that their dogs might encounter wolf traps along some trails in the Bitterroot National Forest near Montana's Lake Como, the forest supervisor signed an order requiring traps be set 150 feet away from all trails, and the Montana Trappers Association said it was urging trappers to not set traps near high-use recreation areas.
Missoulian (Ravalli Republic); Dec. 21

B.C. imposes $250,000 fine for releasing snakehead fish
Snakehead fish are often called "frankenfish" because the voracious intruder can slither from pond to pond, and to protect native species in British Columbia's waters, the provincial government announced the release of snakehead fish into B.C. is punishable by a $250,000 fine.
Toronto Financial Post; Dec. 21

United to begin nonstop flights between Denver, Fort McMurray
When United begins its flights between Denver and Fort McMurray on June 6, it will be the only airline to offer nonstop service to the city in the heart of Alberta's oilsands country.
Denver Post; Dec. 21

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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